Will Google Punish Your Mobile-Unfriendly Website?

Starting April 21 Google will favour mobile-friendly sites.

Google is about to change the way it ranks websites in search results – is your site ready? Starting April 21, 2015, Google will include mobile-friendliness as a “ranking signal”.  This means that when a user searches from a phone or tablet results from sites that are mobile-friendly will appear above results from sites that are not.

If your site is not optimized for mobile users you could see a drop in traffic.

With more and more users searching from mobile devices, a responsive site is a great investment. Whether it’s an investment you need to make right away depends on your business. Google reports that in the US, 94% of people with smartphones search for local information on their phones. That’s a lot of traffic to miss out on.

How do you know if your site is ready?

There are several free tools available to see if your site is ready for the April 21st change.  The easiest to use is Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test site. Enter your URL, click “analyze” and you’ll have an answer in moments.

What if my site fails the test?

There are two main ways that sites fail the mobile-friendly test: layout issues and SEO issues. Layout issues are things that make it hard for users to access your site with their thumbs, things like a wide page width that makes them scroll or links that are too close together. If your site has layout issues, you’ll want to look into updating your template to one that is mobile responsive.

SEO issues are a little more complicated but Google has supplied a list of the top 7 mistakes that keep a site from being mobile-friendly:

  1. Blocked JavaScript, CSS and image files
  2. Unplayable content
  3. Faulty redirects
  4. Mobile-only 404s
  5. App download interstitials
  6. Irrelevant cross-links
  7. Slow mobile pages

They’ve also put together a handy guide of how to fix each of these issues. Work with your developer or SEO specialist to get these issues resolved.

This change is one of the larger ones that Google has rolled out in recent years and it should lead to better results for mobile searchers. If your site isn’t ready yet, don’t panic. Contact one of Stir’s Web Developers or Strategic Marketing Consultants to book a free digital marketing consultation or get an estimate for a mobile-friendly site revision.

We’ve taken our own advice. Welcome to our brand new responsive site stirmarketing.com.