In a rare move, the usually secretive Google has announce that there are big changes coming to their search engine ranking signals. For months now, website owners have been receiving notices through their Google Webmaster accounts that their sites are not mobile-friendly and will be heavily penalized on the search results page if they don't update their websites.
Why is Google Doing This?
Depending on your industry, as much as 60% of your website traffic comes from mobile devices today, usually phones or tablets. The use of mobile devices has grown so rapidly that having a "mobile-friendly" site is no longer a "nice-to-have," but is a "must-have" if you want people to find your site. If your website is not "mobile-friendly", it will be penalized and will not appear as early in the search results. The change applies to mobile searches in all languages worldwide. However, this change does not apply to searches done through a desktop device.
What Is Mobile-Friendly?
Mobile-friendly can mean several things. For the sake of this article, I'll describe mobile-friendly in the terms of Accessibility and Ease of Use.
In web design, accessibility means creating web pages that everyone can use, regardless of hardware, software, or any sensory or physical impairment.
- Those who cannot see or use a mouse.
- Deaf users whose first language is sign language.
- Visitors whose primary language is not your language.
- People who use special assistive software or hardware to access the Web.
- People who are color blind or can’t see low color contrast.
All people need access to web pages, and as a website owner you need to know about accessibility. So please ask yourself three questions:
- Can people access at all the information on my site without it being too much of a hassle?
- Is there information that is hidden behind tables or images or other HTML elements?
- Is there media (video, audio, etc.) that does not play on mobile devices? (such as Flash video)
In order to attract people to your site, you should review whether the information you publish is accessible. The more people that can access your websites, the more people are likely to convert to customers and the more successful you will be.
Ease of Use
When considering a mobile friendly website design, you should also consider how easy it is to use. The easier to use, the better it will convert visitors into customers.
However, because mobile device screens can be small, you have to expect to give in to certain compromises. Desktop and mobile-views will not be exactly the same. It's important to prioritize your design so that you present the most important information and functionality first, and the less-important items further down the page. This is also known as "above-the-fold" and "below-the-fold" content presentation. Above the fold or "above the scroll" refers to the portion of the webpage that is visible to a visitor without scrolling.
Is My Site Mobile-Friendly
The easiest way to determine if your site is mobile-friendly is to use Google's Mobile-Friendly test tool. Simply enter your site's URL into the tool and click the Analyze button. Your site will either pass or fail. If your site passes the test, congratulations! You have nothing else to do. In fact, you can expect your site to rank better in mobile searches than your competitors that don't have mobile friendly sites. If your site fails, you've got a big problem that needs to be addressed.
How We Can Help
If your site fails the Google's Mobile-Friendly test tool analysis, don't panic! We can help. The Victor Font Consulting Group are experts at developing mobile-friendly sites. The first step is to allow us to perform a survey of your site. We charge a nominal fee of $95 for this service. In return, you will receive a comprehensive proposal detailing our findings and the recommended course of remediation. You can take our findings and go to any website developer you desire to fix your site. However, if you want us to fix your site, the $95 survey fee will be deducted from the overall price of the proposal.
To get started, take Google's Mobile-Friendly test. If your site fails the test, submit our convenient Mobile Friendly Site Survey Request Form to have us jump on the case and get you back to scoring higher in Google's search results.