Is Your Website Mobile Friendly? Check Now To Avoid Slipping Down Google’s Ranking

is your website mobile friendly featured

Most businesses have now realised the importance of having a website and the right domain name, but in the age of mobile phones and tablets, how that website works away from the big screen is becoming more important.

On February 26th Google announced that it was going to be paying greater attention to sites that were responsive and gave the best experience to mobile users. The changes will take effect very shortly on April 21st.

Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.

For anyone who doesn’t know, Google uses complex, and secret, algorithms to determine what results you see and in what order when searching. Sites that are mobile friendly will be given higher priority in search results when searching on a mobile device.

If you’ve ever landed on website that isn’t mobile optimised when on your smartphone, you should realise the issues Google is trying to correct. The website will appear tiny, require scrolling around to see everything and zooming in to navigate menus and read important information like contact details.

If your website isn’t mobile friendly then its time to do something about it as a priority.

Check Your Site

Google has provided a handy tool to see if your website is mobile friendly. Simply visit their Mobile-Friendly Test page and enter your website URL to have your site checked and see if your website is considered friendly for mobile devices.

The service will also give you a screenshot with an idea of how your website will look to mobile visitors. Your website might pass the tests but still look poor, so it might still be worth making some changes so it is easier to read and navigate. You can test the look further by using some mobile site emulators.

Many common reasons websites are not mobile-friendly are:

  • The width of the content is wider than the display requiring side to side scrolling
  • Text is too small – visitors have to zoom in to read your website
  • Link and menu spacing – links and menus should be sufficiently spaced to allow for tapping with a finger or thumb.

While research data shows that the Smartphone ‘add-to-cart’ and conversion rates are much lower than for desktop, the proportion of mobile internet users purchasing goods has increased from 20% to 24%, 2013 to 2014. So optimising your website for mobile is important for information and contact details, don’t forget shopping cart and purchasing pages too.

While mobile internet usage is through the roof, much of this time is within Apps not browsing in mobile Safari, Firefox or Chrome which has lower usage when compared to desktops and laptops.

Ofcom’s eleventh annual Communications Market report (2014) found that the average time spent page browsing on laptops and desktops in March 2014 was 31 hours 24 minutes, down 14.7% from 36 hours 49 minutes in March 2013. However the average time spent page browsing on mobile phones was up 2.5% to 5 hours 48 minutes in March 2014, and with this growing in 2015 it’s clear why Google has decided to give more weight to this usage.

While the argument for “mobile first” might not yet be backed up by usage data, the principle of “user first” is what business’ should be focussed on, and giving users the best experience with whatever form of device they choose to use is crucial.

This post was written by Rob Gordon, an IT geek, gadget lover and blogger. Rob has been using the internets since 1994 when the only streaming video was that coffee pot in Cambridge (rip).... Follow Rob on Twitter - @robgordon - about.me/robgordonuk