Dark times are upon non-mobile friendly web pages. It all started by the end of 2013, when Google announced its plan to cut the ranking of non-mobile friendly web pages in mobile search results. In February this year, Google gave the “last warning” to webmasters that the non-optimized sites can expect a great drop in rankings after April 21. As a result, online businesses scrambled in desperation to have their websites optimized to a mobile-responsive design, before it is too late.
The big question remains – Is your site mobile friendly, or you are still waiting for the boatman to get you to the other side, to the eternity?
What triggered it?
Google has simply listened to the beat on this one. When it became clear that the percentage of smartphones surfing the web has skyrocketed beyond any estimated figure, Google started warning users and developers that the mobile age is coming. Only through websites optimized for mobile devices can all users be made equal.
Why should you optimize?
- To start with, your good ranking on desktops and laptops means nothing to mobile users. You might be ranked well on desktops, but invisible on smartphones. Businesses who failed to optimize after April 21 actually lost visibility in search results. If your website was to be pushed as little as from page 1 to page 2, your traffic would drop considerably.
- You should assume that your competitors are already optimized and are already displacing you from the Ivy League of search results. Unless mobile users reverse the trend by turning back to desktop surfing, Google will continue to optimize their experience by giving higher ranking to mobile-friendly pages, while continuing to penalize websites that, for example, take a lot of time to load. In a nutshell, Mobilegeddon as we know it is just the beginning. If you emerged from it safe and sound, better prepare for the next wave, for there is more to come.
- And finally, there is the fourth reason that has little to do with ranking. Is there a single good reason why you should not make your visitor’s time on your website more pleasant by giving them faster loading times and bug-free scrolling and zooming? This research by Google has shown that 67% of people are more likely to spend their money on a mobile-friendly site. In the end, the change is not for Google but for your customers.
What is mobile-friendly?
A site needs to provide text size that is comfortable to read in smaller screens. Also, users need scroll only vertically to read content. Horizontal scrolling is a big minus. These sites should use plugins that are compatible with all mobile devices, regardless of the OS. Already mentioned, a mobile-friendly site needs to have fast age loading times, and to have its hyperlinks placed apart far enough for users to select them comfortably. Unless your website complies with these standards, this is the right time to consult a digital agency that can help you in optimizing your site to mobile devices.
Test(ify) if your site is optimized
There are a few ways to test if your website is mobile-friendly. The quickest way is to load your site in a desktop browser and the bottom right corner of the browser window and shrink it to the left until it has a vertical shape, like a smartphone screen. If the elements shrink and remain where they are, the site is not optimized. On the other hand, if they rearranged to stay the same size, you are good to go. Alternatively, you can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test, which can give you suggestions for better optimization.
Google did not create the Internet in seven days, but it makes the rules how to play. These changes are nothing else but a butterfly effect of new ways in which people experience the web.
Dan Radak is a web hosting security professional with ten years of experience. He is currently working with a number of companies in the field of online security, closely collaborating with a couple of e-commerce companies. He is also a coauthor on several technology websites and regular contributor to Technivorz.