Mobile Friendly Websites for SEO – The Latest Google Update Announcement

SEO Blog Posts on 13 Mar , 2015

If you have an online business and are looking to expand the number of people who are able to access your services then you need to make your website mobile friendly of course. The changes and evolution in technology makes people prefer to use their mobile devices for most things including surfing the internet or shopping online. This means that if your website is not friendly or compatible with these devices then you are missing out on a whole wide market and opportunities to expand your client base.

Another good reason why you should work on optimizing your website for mobile devices is the latest announcement from Google that on April 21st, 2015 they’ll be launching a organic ranking algorithm update that will significantly impact non mobile friendly websites SEO rankings. The announcement has been made, guidelines have been issued and now it’s up to you to take action and avoid being penalized.

Google Mobile Test

The first step to ensuring your website is mobile friendly is to take the Google mobile test that will show you how compatible your site is. By not optimizing your site for mobile viewing the people viewing your site from mobiles, end up having the texts being too small or are forced to scroll from side to side and this is exhausting. It is also very annoying having to zoom in every time in order to read the text. But once you take the mobile friendly version you will be able to correct these issues. So Google provided us tools and guidelines, we have to follow and all will be good.

My Site is Not Mobile Friendly. Now what?

Once the test has proven that your website is not mobile friendly you can now one of the three options Google has recommended in their guidelines.

  1. Responsive Website Design

This may require a whole website redesign, which would be good if you have the budget and the time to dedicate to this activity. If you take this option you don’t have to have a separate URL for mobile users, adapt content for mobile.

  1. Dynamic Serving

This time the web server will be serving a different HTML and CSS to the browser depending if the website loading request comes from a mobile or a desktop browser. In this case, you have to have double number of pages and CSS files for the mobile version. Make sure you use the canonical tag to avoid double content issues

  1. Separate URLs

If you chose this option you will have a separate URL for the HTML and the CSS files presented to the mobile users. The mobile URL structure is usually m.domain.com and is being displayed when a mobile browser requests access to the website. Don’t forget the canonical tag again for the mobile site pages that display the exact same content as the desktop version of the website.

Which one of these you’ll choose depends on how available you are to make your website mobile friendly. Google has stated that they do favor the first option: responsive websites solve the issues for all devices and browser versions. So have this in mind.

Now Some Point to Consider Before You Start

  1. Content Back Up

First of all it is important that you ensure that you have backed up all the information in your site before you make any adjustments.

  1. Update Your CMS

If you are using some open platform solutions for your website like WordPress or Drupal or similar, you will need to update the CMS to the very attest version. This makes sure that you get the must have features and security upgrade to make your site mobile friendly. It is important to push for this even manually if it does not happen automatically (check your settings) in order to avoid any security breaches.

3. Avoid the Classic SEO Mistakes of Mobile Website

After doing this make sure you avoid the common mobile SEO mistakes such as:

  • Blocked JavaScript, CSS and image files
  • Unplayable content
  • Faulty redirects
  • Mobile-only 404s
  • App download interstitials
  • Irrelevant cross-links
  • Slow mobile pages

The approach Google took to announce this update so early, to issue an information and guidelines, hold public QA sessions, makes this announcement sound very serious. The businesses that rely on SEO for traffic and sales, mobile friendliness may impact their website performance heavily. So now is the time to take action.