It’s incredibly important to have a website that is mobile-friendly.
April 21st is the date that Google will start penalizing sites that aren’t mobile. If your site isn’t set up for mobile by Monday, your page rank will suffer significantly in mobile searches. Google isn’t trying to punish people whose websites aren’t mobile-friendly. The update is intended to make it easier for mobile users to find websites that are designed for mobile use.
This is a good update. Google has always been focused on maximizing user experience. Updating the mobile search algorithm is just keeping up with the times. People don’t use the internet like they used to. They’re not perched at their desktops, suffering through the banshee shrieks of a dial-up connection. People browse the internet using a high speed wi-fi connection while waiting in line at the drive-through, because fast food takes too long and there’s nothing better to do.
But what’s interesting is that people aren’t just using mobile devices while out and about. Google reports that 77% of mobile searches occur at home or work. Either it’s too much of a hassle to walk 10 feet to a computer, or the thought of being seen using something so antiquated as a desktop is too unbearable, so people just use their phones. Either way, your website needs to be set up for mobile.
If your site isn’t set up for mobile use, you’re probably already hurting your business. People are getting frustrated with the fact that they can’t navigate your site. They are throwing their phones to the ground and stomping them into tiny pieces out of frustration, blaming your website for their lack of phone, and vowing never to support your business. Starting next week, however, people won’t even have the opportunity to blame your non-mobile site for their frustrations because your site won’t show up.
Last year, it was reported that mobile web use surpassed desktop web use. You can’t just look at this update and say, “This update only affects my ranking on mobile searches, so I’m not going to worry about it. Who even uses mobile for search?”. Everyone uses mobile for search, so you should worry about it.
So how you can you tell whether or not your site is ready for Google’s mobile update? naturally, you want responsive design, but we’re not just talking arithmetic here. Designing your website with mobile in mind goes beyond making sure it’s pretty on a phone. Here are some things that make a website mobile-friendly:
- Links should be far enough apart that they are easy tapped. You shouldn’t have to have the nimble fingers of pickpocket to be able to open links. Consider those with sausage fingers, and keep space between your links.
- The text on your website should be readable on mobile devices. No one wants to have to mime castanets in order to read your content.
- All scrolling should be vertical. Scrolling side to side is off-putting and nobody should be subjected to that.
- You don’t find flash on many mobile devices, so you won’t find it on a mobile-friendly website. Make sure the software on your site is going to be useable by a mobile device.
It’s not all that difficult to tell whether or not a site is mobile-friendly, but if you want to know with certainty whether or not Google thinks your site is set up for mobile, you can check it with the mobile-friendly test.