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On April 21st, Google began, “expanding mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.” Sounds a little menacing, but given that 39% of global Internet traffic is mobile, it makes sense. So what does mobile-friendly mean? It means more than making sure your website has a responsive design (though, that is important as well). Let’s parse through some of Google’s own definitions to help navigate this question.

The first step is to find out whether or not your website is mobile-friendly or not. Thankfully, it’s easy to do. Just use Google’s own tool to analyze your page (NOTE: You’ll need to test each page, this is not a tool that analyzes your entire site). Remember, it’s not just your home page that will show up in search results. If you’re a footwear store, women’s footwear will appear separately from running footwear which appears separately from boy’s footwear. It’s not your site people are looking for, it’s information.

Worst case scenario, Google deems your website as a mobile unfriendly. Bottom line? You’re going to want to talk with someone about updating your website. Shameless plug: We can do that. In the meantime, even if Google says your site is in fact mobile-friendly, it’s a good idea to cruise your site and determine if it meets these standards.

  1. Does your website make it easy for visitors to complete their objectives? How simple is it to buy your widget via your phone? Can you easily sign up for your newsletter on your iPad? If you find it difficult to complete those tasks on your mobile device, your site may not be as mobile-friendly as you suspect.
  2. How easy it is for visitors to complete common tasks? What are the most common tasks people complete on your website? That answer will vary with each business, but the easier you make it to get stuff done on your site for your visitors the better.
  3. Does your site use responsive web design (RWD)? Google recommends that you use RWD. We do too, for a number of reasons. First and foremost it means you have a single website rather than a desktop and mobile, making it more cost-effective to build and maintain. Secondly, GOOGLE RECOMMENDS IT.

25% of Internet traffic in the U.S. is from mobile devices. That means roughly 1 out of every 4 people visiting your website is doing so via a mobile device. And depending on where you’re driving people to your website from (e.g. Facebook, newsletter, etc.) it could be higher. Like, an 80/20 split in mobile vs. desktop traffic (especially if you get a bunch of traffic from social media). Google isn’t the only search provider making this emphasis. Bing has announced it will begin its own #Mobilegeddon soon.

Have questions? Michael is co-hosting this month’s Coffee With Caledon with Angela and will answer all your questions about what impact this will have on your website and business. Or, as many as he can within the allotted time frame. Join us on May 29th at the Downtown Incubator on Walnut Street across from the post office in Columbia. There’s plenty of coffee and room available. All we ask is that you sign up beforehand.