The Search Engine Journal magazine just reported that Google is planning to do what it has been hinting at for some time – it will start using mobile-friendly as a ranking signal in mobile search. In case you aren’t sure, this means that if your site is not Mobile Friendly according to Google, you will start to lose ranking on mobile search results. If people are searching for you on mobile devices, your site will show up much lower in the results than you do now. Even Google admits that this change will have “significant” impact.
Oh, and the kicker is that you have about five or six weeks to do it if you’re not mobile-friendly now.
Back in November, Google announced a set of criteria that it will be using to rank a site as mobile friendly, including:
- 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
They also released a handy tool to let you know how your site stacks up. You simply type your site URL in the tool and it will tell you whether you have anything to worry about.
You can also tell if your site is mobile friendly by searching for your site on Google. If it is, you will see a little tag in front of the Search Result saying “mobile-friendly”.
There are two ways to make a site mobile friendly. You can redirect your URL to a mobile version of your site (you’ve probably seen the “m.example.com” types of redirect). In this case, a little code is inserted in the header area of your site that says “if someone lands here with a mobile device – send them to a new mobile-friendly site”. This is probably the easiest and least expensive thing to do for sites that would otherwise require a complete redesign.
The second way to get mobile-friendly is to redo your site as “Responsive”. A responsive site also recognizes that the user has landed on the site with a mobile device, but instead of sending them to a different site, it reformats your site to be mobile-friendly. It sounds harder that it is – the site you’re reading now is responsive. It is also easier to do if you are on a platform like WordPress (like our site is), Joomla, Drupal or a similar platform. All you need to do is to get a new responsive theme and you’re good to go.
Opticom Apps does both types of mobile-friendly, so if you are not mobile friendly now and you are worried about the impact on your search results, just give us a call or send us a note with the contact form on this page, and we’ll help you evaluate which option will work better for your site.