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Mobile-Friendliness and SEO: Google Steps it Up

Mobile-Friendliness and SEO: Google Steps it Up

by Jessica Jones

You may have heard that Google is going to start giving more consideration to whether a site is mobile-friendly. Mobile-friendliness has been a consideration in Google ranking for quite some time, but the new algorithm that they’re going to start using on April 21st is going to significantly step up the weight of mobile-friendliness on any searches done using a mobile device.

Of course it makes sense that Google would want users to be able to easily find a site that not only meets their search criteria, but that also will be easy to navigate on the device that they’re using at the time. They already look at many factors of mobile-friendliness, but the new algorithm is going to take a combination of factors and combine them into a single pass or fail test. Your site is either mobile-friendly or it isn’t – there’s no scale, no continuum, no in-between, no partial credit.

Two paths towards the goal of mobile-friendliness!
Two paths towards the goal of mobile-friendliness!

Is my site mobile-friendly?

If your site design is not responsive and you also don’t have a separate mobile version, then it’s likely that your site isn’t mobile-friendly.

A responsive website is a site that is programmed to scale itself automatically based on the size of the screen it is being viewed on, so that one design is optimized for any device. A mobile site is a separate version of your site that is programmed to load when it detects a smaller (usually tablet or smart phone sized) screen is being used.

Which of these two options you choose will depend on your budget and whether you’re at a point where redesigning your website makes sense – mobile sites are generally less expensive and can be added on if you’d rather not take the time and money to redo your main site just now. If, however, your site design is getting a little dated and it’s about time for an upgrade anyway, starting fresh with a responsive site may be the way to go.

Either option will get the job done, however – a user looking at your site on a smart phone may not be able to tell whether they’re looking at a responsive design or a separate mobile site, and they likely won’t care as long as they’re able to easily use the site.

Eliminate the Guesswork

If you’re just not certain if your site is mobile-friendly – or you’re pretty sure that it is but you want to make sure that Google agrees with you – there’s an easy way to settle any doubt. Google has its own tool to evaluate whether any site is mobile-friendly. Just put in your site’s address and let Google evaluate it – you’ll get a quick definitive yes or no answer straight from Google.

If the news is good, then congratulations, you’ve got nothing to worry about with the upcoming algorithm change. If, however, your report card isn’t exactly inspiring you to show it off to mom so that she can post it on the refrigerator, it may be time to look into your options for updating. Whatever your reasons for not updating to a mobile-friendly site already, the importance of doing so is about to greatly increase – and given the number of internet users who regularly use mobile devices, mobile-friendliness is only going to become more and more crucial if you want your site to be found.

If you need help deciding on the best way to move forward in order to achieve mobile-friendliness, please feel free to give us a shout and let us talk to you about our responsive design and mobile package options!