How Important Is It to Make Your Web Site Mobile-Friendly?

As of April 21, 2015, Google is changing how it ranks sites based on mobile-friendliness. What this means to web site owners is that, if a current site is not mobile-friendly (another term that is sometimes used is “responsive”), then its ranking will fall. If your web site rankings fall, SEO in Danville may be able to help a little bit, but maybe not enough to bring your site to its previous ranking.

It is simple to check any given site to evaluate its mobile-friendliness, thanks to Google’s addition of a “Mobile-friendly” label to those search results that lead to a mobile-friendly site. Until April 20, the label only affects things if the searcher uses it to choose a different site; however, the ranking itself is to be affected beginning the 21st.

One thing to note about Google’s label is that it only applies to the page to which it links. Other pages on the site may or may not follow suit. You may want to do a Google search and see how your web site does on the search.

Mobile devices that may be used to access a web site include smartphones (which make up the majority of mobile devices at the moment), tablets, some gaming devices, and e-readers.  Because these devices have much smaller screens than desktop and laptop computers, changes need to be made to web sites in order to allow them to be easily viewed on the smaller screens. However, most of the time when “mobile devices” is used, it refers to smartphones, which are devices that use Android, iPhone, or Windows Phone, and whose default browser orientation is vertical.

If a site uses a content management system (CMS) or other third-party software (such as WordPress), the method for increasing mobile-friendliness is a little different than it is for a site that is using plain HTML. Many CMS and third-party systems have templates available that are mobile-friendly, so making a site that uses them mobile-friendly can be as easy as changing to a responsive template. Completely different HTML pages may be necessary if a site is written with basic HTML5 code.

One way to make the site show up properly on mobile devices is by using a meta tag named “viewport” which defines width and scale according to the device used. This method also eliminates the problem some web site owners run into in which their redirects to mobile formats are incorrectly attributed, resulting in a mobile web site that is frustrating, at best.

In order for Google to know that a site is optimized for mobile, it must be able to access it. Therefore, be careful to be sure that the necessary components are not blocked to Google’s bot, and that the mobile version is not using such things as Flash, which is not usually compatible with mobile devices.

You know SEO in Danville is important, but it may not be enough. You can test your site with a tool Google provides (The Mobile-Friendly Test) to determine whether it needs to be changed. You can go to that link and insert your web site address. Within minutes, you will receive a report telling you if your web site is mobile friendly, or not.