28.04.2015 Is your site mobile friendly? If not the latest Google update could hit your traffic hard

Just when you think you’re getting your head around what it takes to ensure your website is performing well on Google, the little devils go and change the rules again.

This week Google threw another spanner in the works with the announcement that their complex algorithms will now take into account how mobile friendly a site is before deciding how to rank it.  Basically, if you want to do well on Google, you now need to make sure your website has a mobile responsive design.

Google are rewarding sites that are mobile optimised in response to figures that show 60% of searches now happen on mobile. Interestingly, 77% of mobile searches take place in a location where another PC is available to them, so it’s easy to see why search is becoming a mobile issue.

Businesses that don’t have mobile-friendly sites could stand to lose up to a third of their traffic, so this update could have a huge impact. It’s important to note that this only affects your ranking when searching on a mobile device, and tablets are unaffected for now – but changes are likely to be in the pipeline so it’s worth being prepared for those too.

What’s a ‘responsive design’ you might ask. Basically, the main things to bear in mind are using text sizes that are readable without zooming, content that fits the screen so scrolling and zooming aren’t necessary, and spacing links so tapping the right one isn’t tough for users. Flash is going to be a major problem too, as it isn’t commonly supported on mobile devices and Google will now be holding it against sites that use Flash.

If you’re unsure how your website performs on mobile devices, you can check how your website is performing using this link.

You’ll see a screen that recommends changes you need to make to ensure the site is mobile-ready that will look a little something like this:

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 14.16.50

Don’t be scared by the techie jargon, simply send this list to your website designer and ask for these changes to be made.

Some will be very simple, and others will be a little bit more complicated.

As a general rule:

  • Images – make sure any images on your site are sized correctly, if they are too big, the site will take a long time to load.
  • Page size – The page size needs to fit to a mobile screen.
  • Text – Ensure that the text is big enough to read, with hyperlinks spaced out evenly. We have all experienced the frustration of trying to click a link and being directed elsewhere due to our stubby fingers and tiny links!

If your site doesn’t have a responsive design yet, be sure to get your web developers on the case if you don’t want to lose valuable traffic.

And keep your eyes peeled for more news from those clever little webmonkeys at Google.