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Google demands every web page is mobile friendly

Comedian Darren Walsh scooped the prize for funniest joke at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival with the line: “I just deleted all the German names off my phone. It’s Hans free”.

google penguin1 - Google demands every web page is mobile friendly

Walsh won 23% of the votes in a poll by satellite TV comedy channel Dave, but here’s a mobile statistic that will wipe the smile from your face…

Your website will no longer appear on at least 46% of Google search results in the UK unless it is optimised for mobile.

In April, Google introduced a mobile first strategy that is already having a catastrophic effect on small and medium-sized business owners like you who have yet to make the performance of their websites on smartphones and tablets a priority.

What has Google done?

Google wants to deliver a better user experience for the more than 50% of people in the US who now use a mobile device to browse the internet rather than a desktop PC.

In the UK alone, more than 46% of all browsing is now done on a smartphone or tablet, while research by IMRG and Capgemini reveals that mobile now accounts for 40% of all online retail sales.

Whether you accept the statistics or not, there is no denying that since Apple introduced its first iPhone in 2007 more and more internet activity is being carried out on smartphones and tablets.

This is why Google has not only updated the way it lists search queries on a mobile device that gives preference to mobile-ready websites over non-mobile ready websites, the search giant is working on plans to introduce a completely separate mobile index. This will mean that as mobile search becomes the norm for 60% or more of users (and that day is fast approaching), Google’s mobile index will drive the future of search rankings.

Is your website mobile friendly?

Online visibility should start with your website. And your efforts to increase your online visibility will come to nothing if your customers cannot find you on a mobile search.

To discover whether Google judges your online shop window delivers a good mobile experience, try this handy tool (https://www.google.co.uk/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/). After inputting your URL into Google’s Mobile Friendly Test, one of the following two results will appear.
But don’t start celebrating just yet if Google says your URL is awesome and the web page is mobile friendly. Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm runs on a page-by-page basis, which means even if most of your pages pass the mobile-friendly test, some could still get the thumbs down.

In theory, once each page on your site is judged to be mobile friendly, it will benefit from the algorithm immediately. But if your pages are updated only occasionally, Google will not assess your site on a regular basis and will not update its algorithm as soon as your new, mobile-friendly pages go live.

Why did my website fail Google’s mobile-friendly test? Pages that are considered to be mobile friendly will invariably be built using responsive web design. They will also…

  • Avoid using software that is not common on mobile devices, such as Flash
  • Use text that can be read on any size of screen without zooming
  • Place content on the screen so users don’t have to scroll or zoom to see it properly.
  • Place links far enough apart so that even the fattest finger can tap the correct one.

What next?

If your site isn’t fully optimized for mobile devices, you will likely see a hit to your ranking on mobile searches. Which is why the scaremongers in search circles have called it Mobilegeddon.

But don’t panic. If your website is not mobile friendly, there are numerous ways to correct its faults, particularly if it uses a popular content management system, such as WordPress.

However, as Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller has previously warned: ““If you don’t have a lot of experience with HTML, then it’s easy to sink a lot of time into this. Get some help from an expert.”

To most of Art Division’s clients, the value of their website is considerably higher than the price of a luxury car. And just as you wouldn’t take a high-class vehicle to a back-street garage for a cut-price service, why risk your website operating under a cloak of online invisibility because it doesn’t appear on search results?

And even if customers do come across your site, that visit will not result in a conversion if your digital marketing tools deliver a poor experience. The best way to avoid this is to heed Google’s advice and double-check what’s happening with your website then take immediate action to address any faults.

If Google’s advice has left you considering how well your website performs and you require some independent advice, please get in touch with us for a free, no obligation chat.

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