SEO in 2017: How to make your site mobile-friendly and keep rankings high
In March of 2016, Google announced the upcoming update to mobile search results in May, that will increase the effect of its “mobile-friendly” ranking signal. Google didn’t disappoint and has fully rolled out the second version of the mobile-friendly update. If you’ve been seeing ranking and traffic changes from Google’s mobile search results to your site recently, it’s probably due to the update.
What is this update we speak of?
Let’s rewind a little..
In November 2014, Google began simply marking “mobile-friendly” sites with a badge, to denote which pages are optimized for phones.
We then entered the era of “Mobilegeddon”, i.e – the name webmasters gave Google’s algorithm update in April 2015. That’s when Google started giving priority to websites that display well on smartphones and other mobile devices. Basically, Mobilegeddon became the era in which non-mobile-friendly websites began to suffer from the latest Google apocalypse (boohoo), experiencing major downfalls in their website search ranking and overall website reach.
The search giant has now further updated its algorithms to favor websites that look and perform better on mobile devices, making them appear higher in search results. Now, factors such as readability, responsive design and not using non-mobile friendly software (like Flash) will also be taken into consideration in a website’s search ranking.
What is the goal here, you ask?
According to Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, John Mueller, “The goal is to help our users find even more pages that are relevant and mobile-friendly”.
As more and more users view websites on mobile devices, Google wants to make it easier to find relevant, mobile-optimized websites.
The update won’t affect websites that are already mobile-friendly (nor will it affect website searches from a laptop or computer), but if you haven’t yet taken steps toward making mobile-friendly changes, don’t be surprised to see your webpage’s ranking plummet on Google search results. You can find your website’s search ranking and other performance data in Google Analytics, the freemium web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic. Google Analytics provides comprehensive statistics regarding the visitors to your website. Data available through this service consists of site visits, page views, bounce rate, average time on site, pages per visit and percentage of new visits. Basically, it’s a handy-dandy tool for website owners.
Taking the proper steps to transform your web page to a mobile-friendly site, will not only positively affect the visibility of your web page, improving SEO (search engine optimization) rates, but will also improve the user-experience of anyone who visits your site using a mobile device. This means your mobile website’s performance will be enhanced, and you’ll have happy users (YAY!).
Follow these steps for a mobile-friendly site:
If you’re confused about whether your site is what Google calls “mobile-friendly”, make sure your site meets the following criteria:
-Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
-Uses text that is readable without zooming
-Sizes content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
-Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped
Alternatively, here is another way to check if your site is mobile-friendly (because we’re nice like that). These are the steps as suggested by Google:
- Visit Google’s guide to mobile-friendly sites. This page offers several ways to make your site more mobile-friendly, such as by using software or a third-party developer.
- Take Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to see how optimized your website is for mobile viewing. You can test a single page on your site or several web pages and see exactly how Google’s own Googlebot views the pages when determining search results.
- Use Webmaster Tools to generate a Mobile Usability Report, which helps identify any issues with your website when viewed on a mobile device.
The changes in mobile-site ranking on Google have led many website owners to take the appropriate steps towards making a change and adapting their web page to a mobile-friendly version. The advantages in making your site mobile-friendly are clear, and now that you’ve got the tools on how to make the switch, we hope you can implement them and take your site to the next level this 2017.
If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed with information and aren’t sure how to transform your website into the best mobile-optimized version it can be, contact our team at Mold. We’ll help you review your current site, and plan out the mobile-friendly version – so you gain more traffic and get higher rankings.