As of April 21st 2015 Google will again be changing the way that websites are ranked, and this time it’s to do with how well they are optimised for mobile phones. If you’ve always seen the idea of a mobile-friendly website as a bit of a luxury, now is definitely the time to take it seriously as it will affect your SEO across the board.
In short, mobile optimisation now has a lane of its own. With these tips, from Robert Keating director of Lead Generation Websites, you’ll be well-placed to take advantage.
- Measure your mobile share
The first thing to know is how much of your traffic is coming from mobile users. You can do this by checking your ‘device’ stats on Google Analytics to find out how many of your visits are from mobile devices.
If you get more than, say, 10% of visits from mobiles then a mobile-friendly website should be a priority to ensure customers can comfortably engage with you from their phones. If less than 10% of traffic is from mobile users, it’s probably because your site isn’t mobile-friendly and so this affects you just as much.
- Audit your site with Google’s Mobile Friendly Test Tool
To find out how optimised your site is at the moment, begin with Google’s Mobile Friendly Test Tool. Simply type in your web page’s URL. Google will tell how accessible your site is from a mobile. If it doesn’t pass the test, you’ll be provided with a list of easily implementable recommendations.
N.B. If your site seems relatively mobile-friendly, but Google says it isn’t, it could be because your site has blocked Googlebot from loading some its page info. You can resolve that here.
- Make the most of all of the tools offered
With the various tools and tests that Google provide, you can give your website a pretty thorough servicing without needing to be an IT expert. There are ways to check the speed of each page on your website, and whether it loads faster on a desktop or mobile – it even gives you a score. Or if you want to have more of a breakdown of your leads, you are able to compare, for each page, what percentage come from mobile vs. desktop users.
- Time to optimise
If your site isn’t quite ready, Google will present you with a list of issues as to why. It could be that the text is too small to read; links are too close together; the content doesn’t fit the screen; or maybe the mobile viewport isn’t set (which in short means that site hasn’t been configured to adapt for mobile devices).
You can either make these changes individually or, depending on how you built your website, you can just update your web template or WordPress theme to a more current one. The latter is a lot simpler and faster to do. All themes created within the last few years will almost certainly be mobile-friendly and so any one that you choose will have you optimised in no time.
- How does your site rank?
If your website is ranking lower on mobiles, it means there is still more you can do. Once these changes have been rolled out after April 21, you can check to see how you’ve been affected.
Up until now, if your website hasn’t been adapted to function well on a mobile, it might put the user off from staying on your site for too long. Going forward, it reduces the chances of them even finding your site in the first place.
The percentage of internet traffic from mobiles is always increasing such that Google has decided to give mobile optimisation its own space. It means that what was once good advice has now become virtually mandatory for any business who wants to keep their SEO competitive.