Earlier this year, Google made a big announcement: Its new algorithm would consider the mobile-friendliness of a website a major ranking signal.
Now what does that mean in layman’s terms?
Well, in a nutshell, it means that as of April 21 (when the new algorithm is released), Google will heavily favor websites with mobile-friendly layouts. And websites that aren’t mobile friendly? Sadly, the signs aren’t good.
Though a site that’s mobile-friendly will certainly see lower rankings on mobile searches, it could even affect desktop and laptop searches as well. And when that happens, that means a serious drop in traffic, customer leads and online sales.
In short, it’s an outright disaster for a small business or online retailer.
What It Means for You
The whole point of the algorithm update is to provide more mobile-friendly options in search results. As mobile-friendly sites are easier to view, navigate, read and understand, they typically offer a better experience for mobile searchers on the whole. They’re able to more easily find the information they need, buy the product or service they’re looking for, or download the document they require.
And that’s the whole point of Google: to provide searchers with the most relevant, fitting websites for their queries.
But sadly, while the intent is good, the new algorithm also means that plenty of well-intentioned, informative websites are going to get pushed to the wayside, simply because their sites aren’t mobile-friendly enough.
To see if you could be affected by Google’s upcoming algorithm update, pull up your website on your phone, tablet or both right now. Do you have to zoom in a lot to see buttons or content? Is the menu difficult to navigate or the content hard to read? Are the images small and blurry?
These are all signs you’re not mobile-friendly enough. And that means you could have a real problem come April 21. In fact, Google has established four major criterion a website must meet in order to be deemed “mobile-friendly.” If you can meet all of these, consider it a red flag:
- Software that’s compatible with mobile devices (so no Flash intros!)
- Content that auto-sizes to fit the screen, regardless of what size it is
- Large text that can be read without zooming
- Large links that can be easily read and tapped
If Googlebot sees that these four factors are present, a website will be considered mobile-friendly. If you’re not sure if your site meets these qualifications, use this handy tool.
How to Fix it
If your website is one of the millions out there that’s not mobile-friendly, then don’t fret. There are a few ways you can fix the issue before April 21 rolls around.
If your site is based on WordPress (which we always recommend), you have a couple of options. First, you can switch your theme to a mobile-friendly one. Though this may require a few tweaks to your pages and content, it’s generally a pretty quick and easy fix.
You can also install a plug-in. There are dozens of plug-ins, like WPtouch Mobile and WordPress Mobile that can make your site mobile-friendly with just the click of a button. They don’t work with all themes though, so if you go this route, make sure you double-check the results before going live.
If you’re on a platform like Joomla or Square Space, switching up your theme or template is also a quick fix, or you can install a mobile-friendly module (much like a plug-in) to get the job done.
If your platform doesn’t allow for mobile optimization, or there’s no quick fix for becoming mobile-friendly, you may want to call in a professional instead. An experienced developer can help you get your site on track and ready for the April 21 deadline
Is Your Site Ready?
If you’re worried your site isn’t ready for Google’s April 21 update, you may contact Spot On Digital Marketing for help.
Could I possibly get a tutorial on making my WordPress site mobile friendly? Michelle once told me I had the wrong version of WordPress but I really don’t want to change it, if that is at all possible.
Hi Rosemary, Unfortunately we do not have a tutorial for that. You should probably replace the theme you are using. And I am sure WordPress.com has themes that are mobile friendly …
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