On April 21, Google rolled out yet another mobile-friendly update with the goal of making it easier for users to get relevant, high-quality search results optimized for their mobile devices.
The new update will rank sites that are not mobile optimized even lower than before to incentivize publishers and ecommerce companies to design with mobile in mind.
The changes are a win for consumers who perform more searches on mobile devices than on desktop computers, according to Google.
For businesses, the message Google is sending is loud and clear: update your site according to their mobile-friendly standards, or risk losing website traffic to your competitors who have.
What Makes a Mobile-Friendly Site?
The “mobile friendly” movement began in November 2014 when Google rolled-out “Mobilegeddon,” as it was called by many webmasters and marketers. By adding a label next to search results that were optimized for mobile, Google’s first mobile-friendly initiative gave consumers a hint about which websites would provide the best experience on their devices. Since then, this label has been factored into the order in which search results are ranked.
The guidelines for being “mobile friendly” are surprisingly straightforward. A webpage is eligible for the “mobile-friendly” label if it meets the following criteria:
- It avoids software that is not supported on mobile devices, like Flash
- It uses text that is appropriate for smaller screens so that it’s readable without having to zoom
- It scales images and reorganizes content to the size of the screen to prevent users from having to scroll horizontally or zoom
- It places links far enough apart to avoid the “fat finger problem” and allow the correct one to be easily tapped
Is Your Website Up to Par?
You can check if your website meets Google’s mobile standard by using their Mobile-Friendly testing tool. Keep in mind, however, that each page of a website is analyzed individually for its mobile-friendly qualities. This means every page of your website needs to be checked – not just your homepage.
If your website met Google’s mobile-friendly standards prior to these most recent changes, don’t worry; it’s likely you already have a head start over your competitors. However, if your website doesn’t pass the test – now’s the time to start redesigning with mobile in mind. After all, these smart devices that consumers have come to rely on simply aren’t going anywere.