Is your website mobile friendly?
Here’s a few reasons why it should be.

For some time the word on the ‘digital’ street has been that Google is planning a major mobile-related algorithm update, to reflect the enormous uptake of smartphones worldwide. The strongest indication of this was the progressive roll out in late 2014 of Google’s ‘mobile-friendly’ tags, which gives preference in mobile search results to websites that qualify for the Google’s ‘mobile-friendly’ tag.

Well the time has come, in a recent post on Google’s Webmaster Central Blog, the search engine giant announced:

“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches 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 optimised for their devices.”

Mobile responsive websites are not new, but the honeymoon period is well and truly over.

Here are a few more reasons why it’s a good idea to have a mobile friendly website.

1. SEO advantages

Google uses over 200 ranking signals to decide how it ranks a page, and mobile-friendliness will now be a big one. This means a site that isn’t mobile-friendly will rank below one that is.

So how do you get this all-important ‘mobile-friendly’ tag? You have to pass the Google mobile test of course.

They’ve even developed a mobile tool to help you test if your site is mobile-friendly.

But to summarise, a website is eligible for the ‘mobile-friendly’ tag if it meets the following criteria:

  • Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
  • Uses text that is readable without zooming
  • Sizes content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
  • Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped

(Source: Google Webmaster Central Blog)

2. Improved user experience

In addition to better rankings, another important benefit of a ‘mobile-friendly’ website is a far better user experience. I written about the importance of user experience and responsive design before (see my blog Redesigning your website? Five top tips for success) but I cannot reiterate enough that responsive design adds to a user’s experience and is now an expectation of our ‘multiscreen’ lifestyle.

3. Competitive edge

Finally, having a ‘mobile-friendly’ site can give you an edge over your competitors. If Google identifies you are on a mobile device, it will give you results for mobile. You want to be on that list.

Here are a few examples of how a mobile-responsive site can offer a competitive edge:

  • A website user who sees Google’s ‘mobile-friendly’ tag in search results is far more likely to click on that website over its competitors.
  • Mobile users are generally ‘on the go’ and looking to interact with businesses 24/7, this creates more opportunity for businesses to connect with consumers.
  • If you make it easy for a potential customer to navigate your website on a smartphone or tablet you are delivering a better experience and users are likely to spend more time on your website. Deliver an experience that caters for mobile users and you have an advantage.

(Source: Google Mobile Playbook)

All indications are that we will see a 30% drop in organic mobile search traffic for non-responsive websites as a result of Google’s update on 21 April 2015.

Have I convinced you that a mobile friendly website is not just a good idea, but also an essential business tool?

Hope so.

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Re-designing your website? 5 tips for success.