When first thinking about making this post, we weren’t sure if we should put it under SEO for your local website, or to put it under Web design, because the truth is it actually has to do with both, and they go hand in hand. But for the purpose of this article, it really pertains more to SEO because if your site is not Mobile Friendly it won’t rank as well in mobile search.
Back in April of 2015, Google released their first major update on websites that were “Mobile-Friendly”. They came right out and said that sites that were not mobile friendly would not rank as well in Mobile search. Google always wants to give a good user experience, which was the reason behind this update because more than half of all web searches are now done on Mobile devices.
This was coined in the SEO world “Mobilegeddon”, and to some extent is was. Some sites were hurt worse than others. But almost all sites that were not ready for the update did see a slip in their Mobile rankings.
Now Google has just announced that they are going to “Boost” this algorithm this coming May. One of our favorite blogs, Search Engine Land, covered it:
Google to boost mobile-friendly algorithm this May
Google announced increase in mobile-friendly update factors, but don’t expect another Mobilegeddon.
Google announced on the Webmaster blog that they are going to be boosting the effects of the mobile-friendly algorithm they launched back on April 21, 2015.
Google said the update will happen “beginning in May,” and it “increases the effect of the [mobile-friendly] ranking signal.” Google said if you are already mobile-friendly, you do not have to worry, because “you will not be impacted by this update.”
When the update happens, it will roll out gradually, so you won’t see a major drop-off on non-mobile-friendly websites when the algorithm is pushed out. This kind of sounds like the slow Panda 4.2 rollout, but it is unclear if the rollout will take weeks or months. Google just said it would “start rolling out” the update in the beginning of May.
The mobile-friendly algorithm is a page-by-page signal, so it can take time for Google to assess each page, and that may be why it will be a gradual rollout. And depending on how fast Google crawls and indexes all of the pages on your site, the impact can be slow to show up. Finish reading the article here…
If you are in doubt if your site is Mobile Friendly or not, there are 2 ways to determine if it is or not. All you have to do is either search for keywords that you are targeting, or your brand and look for your site (assuming you are getting some rankings for keywords and branding). Next, just look in the front of the description and it will say “Mobile Friendly”. That’s a good start! Secondly, you can also use Google’s mobile test site to determine this as well.
So how do you make your site mobile friendly? And what’s the difference between a Responsive website and adaptive, and which does Google prefer?
Here are the answers and more from Business 2 Community and an article written by Maxim Emelianov:
How Exactly Do You Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly?
In 2014, the number of smartphone users in the world was over 1.75 billion. This year, that number will top 2 billion. And by the end of 2018, more than half of people in the world will own a smartphone.
People use their smartphones for a great many things. Keeping in touch with friends and relatives. Playing games. Checking email and doing work. Browsing the web.
You’re no doubt aware that we’re well past the point at which mobile devices overtook fixed desktops as the primary avenue through which we surf the ‘net. And that in turn means that you can no longer afford to ignore mobile optimization. If your website offers a poor user experience for people who connect to it with a smartphone, you’re alienating a huge portion of your userbase.
In so doing, you’re driving them right into the arms of your competitors.
And in case you needed another reason to embrace mobility in your web design, Google now treats mobile friendliness as a ranking factor. So a poor mobile experience not only drives away your users, but also reduces your ranking in the SERP.
Ouch, right? At any rate, we’ve established that it’s imperative for you to make your website mobile-friendly. Let’s talk about how you can accomplish that.
Generally Speaking, Don’t Use A Dedicated Mobile Portal
The most traditional means of dealing with mobility is to create two separate websites – one that loads for desktop users, and the other that loads for smartphones and tablets. As I’m certain you’ve already surmised, the main drawback of this approach is that it basically doubles the work you’ll need to do in order to maintain your site, to say nothing of the amount of work that’s required to make a mobile portal that’s adapted to every single device.
Besides that, remember how mobile devices outstrip desktops for web browsing? It’s far more efficient (and effective) to simply design a single page that displays properly, regardless of what the user is browsing on.
Understand Responsive vs. Adaptive Web Design
In its recommendations for building mobile-optimized websites, Google directly advocates using responsive web design – a practice that involves building pages that alter how they look based on the screen size of a user’s device. This allows you to offer all your site’s content via a single URL, making it easier for users to interact with it. At the same time, it also makes your content more discoverable by Google’s crawlers, and therefore likelier to rank high.
With responsive design, a page’s shape and size change based on CSS3 media queries, but the base HTML remains the same. There are only two drawbacks to doing things this way:
- It makes updating old pages a chore, as you need to apply the changes so they display properly regardless of the dimensions set by the CSS3.
- Generally speaking, you can’t take advantage of device-specific features.
Thankfully, Google does make allowances for this:
“We appreciate that for many situations it may not be possible or appropriate to use responsive web design,” explains Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Pierre Far. “That’s why we support having websites serve equivalent content using different, device-specific, HTML. The device-specific HTML can be served on the same URL (a configuration called dynamic serving) or different URLs (such as www.example.com and m.example.com).” Continue Reading Here…
Making your website mobile friendly on your own can be an overwhelming and a huge endeavor, but one that must be done, and isn’t generally recommended for the part time DIY business owner that handles his own website. However, if you are running WordPress, there are themes that you can install and make this task much more simple.
One more thing that must be considered with your Mobile version of your site is load speed. This is not only a ranking factor with Googlel, but also for your user’s experience as well. If your site loads slow on their phone, they click the back button and go to your competitors.
Another favorite blog of ours – Search Engine People covered this topic in depth a few days ago:
The Ultimate Guide To Mobile Site Speed Optimization
We all are being pushed towards a mobile first consumer marketplace and SMB’s are still lagging behind in terms of a mobile optimized website. With lightning fast internet connections and 4G standards already in place, the time has never been better for the growth of mobile audiences. According to ComScores recent Global Mobile Report, just under half (49%) of the traffic and visitors to the top 100 digital media properties are mobile only. This is a remarkable statistic that argues websites not adapted for mobile devices may risk losing half their audience.
The only thing that matters the most for mobile audience is the speed (the below fig. provides the median load times for desktop and mobile devices).
The steps and methods discussed in this mobile site speed optimization guide will list all the necessary fixes that are needed to optimize the speed of your site on all types of mobile devices.
How to Check Your Site Performance on Mobile Devices?
One of the first things you need to do in order to make your website mobile friendly is to check its performance on mobile devices. There are several tools that you can use for this task:
Google Mobile Friendly Test – This tool analyzes the URL and reports if the page has a mobile friendly design. It provides documentation of how Googlebot can view the webpage correctly on mobile devices and provides step by step suggestion on how to make the page mobile friendly.
Google Page Speed Insights – This tool analyzes your web page and provides suggestions for making it faster. This tool provides 3 priority indicators namely red (needs fixing), yellow (consider fixing) and green (no issues detected) as provided in the below screenshot.
GTMetrix – This tool provides a performance report by obtaining data from Google Page Speed Insights and Yahoo Slow both. It also provides a Waterfall Chart which can be used to discover simple issues such as 404’s or more complex issues such as external resources blocking page rendering.
Once you have identified the issues and have made the initial fixes, now it is time to further speed up the website by implementing the below suggestions.
How to Speed Up Your Website on Mobile Devices – 8 Ways to Reduce Load Time and Increase Performance
The below tips have been tried and tested in order toincrease the speed of your website on mobile devices. Let’s understand each one of these, one by one. Finish reading this great article here…
That really is a great article full of information about how to speed up your site for mobile. It’s a little techie, and if you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, you should definitely higher a webmaster to do it for you.
If you haven’t already made your site Mobile Friendly, you need to get to it! First because Google likes it and will rank you higher in the Mobile Searches (which I remind you over half of all searches are done on Mobile devices now). Secondly, for your customers and new potential customers. If they can’t read your site with out having to pinch the screen, or if your site loads slow, they are going to just hit the back button and visit your competition instead.