It is now common knowledge in the SEO community that April 21 is the day that Google will begin rolling out its new mobile algorithm. Known to some as ‘Mobilegeddon’, this new algorithm will reward sites that are deemed to be ‘mobile friendly’, making them more visible in search engine results. Those sites that fail to ready themselves for the coming update may find that they lose a significant amount of traffic, seemingly overnight.
Currently, Google takes a binary approach towards deeming whether a site is mobile friendly or not; meaning that your site is either mobile-friendly or it isn’t. There is no middle ground, or varying degrees of mobile-friendliness.
That being said, Google did confirm that the new algorithm will be run on a page-by-page basis. This means that if you have a website that is made up of 10 pages, where five of those pages are mobile-friendly and five are not, only the pages that are mobile-friendly will benefit from the new algorithm. Therefore, in order to ensure that your site is capable of reaping the full benefits of this new mobile algorithm, webmasters should be making sure that each page on their site is mobile-friendly.
In order to get that all-important mobile-friendly certification, there are a number of things that you should be doing to your site to make sure that it is ready for April 21. Below, we have laid out three things that are worth considering when it comes to mobile sites…
1. Make sure your site is mobile responsive.
It is important to make sure that your site is able to fit onto the smaller screen sizes of smartphones and tablets. There are a number of ways to go about setting your site up so that it is capable of doing this. Google recommends using a responsive design that automatically renders the display differently based on the user’s screen size. Another option is to employ dynamic serving, where the server responds with different HTML and CSS on the same URL depending on the user agent requesting the page. You could also create a separate, mobile-dedicated site all together. Whilst this option may increase your scope for tailoring your mobile site, it also means that you will have two separate sites that will both require updating independently of one another.
2. Minimise content on mobile sites.
You should ensure that your mobile site is light on content, and that the content that is present is easy to read and not too small. White space can be used cleverly to make sure that links are spaced far apart so that they are easy for mobile users to click on – make allowances for big-fingered users! Employing a minimalistic design is a good way of making sure your site doesn’t appear over crowded. Only include information that is necessary, and minimize the need for the user to enter too much text when it comes to form-filling.
3. Ensure your mobile site is quick to load.
This can be achieved by keeping imagery to a minimum. That being said, you should not remove all imagery as this will diminish the user’s experience of your site – especially if they are accessing the site via a tablet. Make sure that images you include on the site have been compressed in order to keep download times as small as possible, and avoid using GIFs.
A good starting place to check to see if your site is already mobile friendly would be to run a mobile Google search for it. Google has recently introduced a ‘Mobile-friendly’ tag that appears next to sites that are deemed to meet the criteria in mobile search results. Alternatively, you can use Google’s mobile-friendly test tool:
It will tell you whether or not your site is considered mobile friendly, and will provide you with a number of tips to further increase your sites mobile-friendliness.
Author: Simon Davis