In February of this year, Big G made a huge announcement through their Google Webmaster Central Blog about the implementation of mobile friendliness as a real ranking signal starting on April 21, 2015. According to Google, this is to allow their search engine to serve results that are optimized for the devices of users. Just this March, Search Engine Land said that the new ranking factor will be run in real time. It will also work on a page-by-page basis. Essentially, what this means is that once you update your pages to have a responsive design, they will benefit from the mobile friendly algorithm change upon getting crawled by the search bots.

There has been an increasing number of users turning to their mobile devices for digital media applications. Mobile devices have also surpassed desktop computers as the leading source of inbound web traffic. This is the reason why it is imperative that you have a 100% responsive website not only to get a thumbs up in the eyes of the search engines but also to provide your visitors with a great user experience.

What Is Mobile Friendliness All About?
MAXBURST’s Search & Social Marketing team, which offers a variety of digital marketing services including SEM, SEO, Langing Page Optimization and Paid Social, has made it a point to keep our clients informed about all the latest updates from Google and other search engines, the most recent of which is mobile friendliness being a real ranking signal. Toward the end of 2014, Google started to deploy the “Mobile-Friendly” tag within the META description fields in mobile searches. This allowed users to readily determine whether the page is optimized for their device. This update along with Google’s ability to fully render pages was seen as a clear indication of improving user experience over any device.

Googlebot’s criteria for mobile-friendly webpages are as follows:

  • Does not use software which are not common on mobile devices such as Flash
  • Uses text that can be easily read without zooming
  • Fits content to the screen to eliminate the need to zoom or scroll horizontally
  • Places links with enough space so the right one can be tapped

How To Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly
Mobile websites come in three different types: responsive design, dynamic service, and separate desktop and mobile URLs. Understand that one is not favored over the other. However, going the responsive route is generally considered as taking a “mobile first” approach. There are also plenty of SEO best practices when it comes to configuring a mobile website including page speed, unplayable video or audio content on mobile, and mobile-only error status codes. These may be a cause for concern about a website not being mobile-friendly. Fortunately, there are two quick and easy introductory tests to check whether Google sees your pages as being optimized for mobile devices. The first is to log in to your Google Webmaster Tools account to read any messages which may have to do about necessary fixes on mobile issues found on your site. You can also find a Mobile Usability report under the Search Traffic section within Webmaster Tools, allowing you to analyze individual pages for mobile friendliness.

The second test you can run is the Mobile-Friendly Test Tool and the PageSpeed Insights Mobile Test. These tests allow you to see whether you are obstructing important resources to search engines including JavaScript and CSS through your robots.txt file, for instance, and the steps you can take to unblock these elements. Other relevant insights pertaining to your site can also be found for more optimization opportunities.

Test for Mobile Friendliness on Webmaster Tools Now
It is imperative to optimize all your webpages and be prepared for the new algorithm changes. Feel free to discuss mobile friendliness with one of our Search & Social Consultants here at MAXBURST by reaching us through www.maxburst.com/contact/

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