It’s still not universally known that, on 21 April 2015 Google released an update that negatively impacts websites that are not mobile-friendly.
Specifically, it means that Google gives a higher preference in it’s search results to sites that are mobile-optimised versus those that are not mobile-optimised, for users searching on their mobile devices. What this may mean is that, if you have a competitor whose website is mobile-optimised, Google will rank your competitor higher than your site on a mobile device, even if you previously outranked that competitor.
Keep in mind that, for an average organisation, currently more than half the web visitors received are visiting their sites on a mobile device. With smartphones getting smarter, and data getting cheaper, this trend shows no sign of abating. You may be wondering what exactly constitutes a ‘mobile-friendly’ or ‘mobile-optimised’ website? While there’s no hard-and-fast definition, it’s generally taken to mean your website has been developed with the technology to recognise whether a visitor is using a mobile device, and to serve up an alternative version of your website that is specifically designed with mobile screens in mind.
‘Mobile-friendly’ therefore goes further than just miniaturising your site, and ensuring the site remains functional when viewed on a mobile device. A simple test is whether or not you have to ‘pinch’ the screen to make a button larger in order to click it – a sure sign a site is not mobile friendly.
Happily, Google has come up with its own view on whether your website is mobile friendly, and it is comfortable to play judge, jury and executioner! So go ahead, and check whether Google considers your website mobile-friendly.