In February, Google announced that “mobile-friendliness” will be added as a search signal in an upcoming change to it’s search algorithm. Here’s part of the statement from Google:
“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile search in all languages worldwide and will have a SIGNIFICANT IMPACT in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high-quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”
But what exactly does that mean?
If your website isn’t mobile friendly then you will most likely see a decrease in search rankings and, ultimately, traffic.
Google’s Mobile-Friendly Tool
Google has a tool to test how mobile-friendly your website currently is. We highly recommend that you use this tool to test you website – click here to use the tool. Put in your website’s URL and let it do it’s thing. The results will tell you what you need to do next.
If you pass the test then you can most likely relax until April 21st and see what happens then. If your website doesn’t pass the test then it’s a good idea to look over your options below and make decision to try to avoid losing any search rankings you currently have, especially if those search rankings drive a lot of business for you.
Short Term Solution: Dedicated Mobile Website
This is a website that’s specifically for mobile devices. It’s separate from your current website and user on mobile devices are redirected to this mobile website (usually at m.yourdomain.com).
The mobile site is usually a much simpler website that only has the most important business information on it, including NAP (name, address, phone number), other contact information, a map, and maybe a menu or services page. It can get more complicated depending on your business but for the purposes of having something up by April 21, try to keep it simple so you can get something up. Then add to it, as needed. The goal is to keep the website small and easy to navigate on mobile devices.
Basically, if you need your website to be mobile friendly by April 21, 2015, this is the simplest way to go.
We’re running a special on mobile websites for the month of April so contact us if you need one. We’re going to be doing a lot of these websites in the next couple weeks so contact us immediately if you need assistance to make sure we can get to you before the deadline.
Long Term Solution: Responsive Web Design
A website that is “responsive” actually collapses and expands depending on the size of your internet browser. If you’ve remodeled your website in the past couple years then you most likely have a responsive website and you should do pretty well on the Google Mobile Test.
For an example of responsive design, open our website (conversionstrategies.net) on your mobile device and compare that version to our desktop version.
Responsive design is Google’s recommended design so these websites may be in a better position come April 21. Only time will tell. If you’ve been thinking about redesigning your website for the past few years, a responsive design will offer your readers and customers a more consistent user experience and keep consistent branding throughout the website.
If you’re interested in a responsive website, it will most likely involve a complete redesign of your website and there’s a good chance it’s not going to get completed by April 21st. In that case, we would probably recommend the short term mobile website solution as a “band-aid” fix until your new website is designed and is ready to replace both the current website and the mobile website.
Help Us Spread the Word
This change is going to have a SIGNIFICANT IMPACT (Google’s words) on millions of small and local businesses. If a business relies on it’s Google rankings to find new leads and customers on a regular basis then it should make these changes before April 21 to avoid a significant rankings decrease.
Questions? Contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.