Is your website 'mobile friendly' for Google?

22 Apr 2015

With the release of Google’s mobile friendly algorithm (nicknamed #Mobilegeddon) yesterday Tuesday 21st April 2015, there’s a lot of panic amongst website owners to find out whether their websites are indeed mobile friendly.

Google Mobile Friendly

However there is really nothing to panic about as any issues are easily fixed. After reading this article if you’re unsure of anything get in touch for some friendly ‘jargon free’ advice.

Firstly what is deemed by the term ‘mobile friendly’?

According to Google it’s a website that:

  • Uses text that is readable on a mobile device without zooming (so avoids small text).
  • Avoids using software that is not common on mobile devices.. such as Flash.
  • Sizes the content to fit the screen so users don’t need to scroll horizontally or zoom.
  • Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be tapped easily.

Why do I need a mobile friendly website?

Well primarily, with the release of Google’s ‘mobile friendly’ algorithm yesterday, if your website doesn’t work well on mobile devices Google will stop showing it in the search results when users search using a mobile device.

This means that your website visitors could drop by 50%. And as Google dominates the search engine market (with around a 65% – 88% market share depending on the device being used) they hold the monopoly so we need to play by the rules.

And for the first time ever at the beginning of 2014 internet mobile usage overtook desktop.

Mobile usage V desktop usage 2007 to 2015

How can I check that my website is mobile friendly?

This is the easy bit… here are 5 tools to check whether or not your website is ‘mobile friendly’:

1. https://www.google.co.uk/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/
2. https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
3. http://ready.mobi/
4. http://www.browserstack.com/responsive
5. http://mobiletest.me/

Also if you’re using a desktop computer or laptop simply resize your browser (by dragging the top or bottom corners inwards) and if the website adjusts according the screen size it is a responsive website (another name for mobile friendly).

If your website isn’t mobile friendly don’t worry, help is at hand. You can head on over to Google’s Webmaster’s Mobile Guide for help. Or drop me a line if it all looks too complicated.

And if your website is mobile friendly, what next?

Congratulations! However passing the mobile friendly test in Google is only the first hurdle. If you want your website to be ‘optimised for search’ (which is different to it being mobile friendly) then there are other things to take into consideration. You need to bear the following points in mind:

  • Your content should be short, to the point and bite sized. So use headings and work with a decent copywriter. Less is often more.
  • Any important information should be near the top of your pages.
  • There should be minimal clicks to perform a desired action.
  • Telephone numbers should be clickable.
  • The speed in which your website loads should be minimal (this is essential for user experience and is a ranking factor that Google takes into account when deciding how well to position a website in the search results). Check how quickly your website loads here.
  • There are other points to consider but the above are the basics.

Mobile friendly examples

Below are screenshots of 3 websites taken on my iPhone showing what a mobile friendly (or responsive) website looks like.

Which website is mobile friendly?

You can see that the website in the middle is the mobile friendly website (and an angelfysh client). The other two websites are competitors of Old Autumn House who don’t have responsive or mobile friendly websites. They will eventually lose out on traffic. Which my client will gain :-)

Thank you for reading.

Lisa