As many of you know Google updates it’s search engine algorithms almost daily, but every once in a while Google likes to really shake things up (i.e. Penguin and Panda).
We’ll for better or worse, Google is at it again.
In a recent post from Google Webmaster tool on Mobile friendly search results, Google announced:
Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.
“Thanks Yext” for the heads up on this!
So what does this mean for website design? It means Responsive web design (RWD) is more than a web design best-practice – it is now a necessity for SEO.
What is Responsive Web Design?
According to Wikipedia:
RWD aims at crafting websites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with minimal resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones).
In a nutshell, it means having a website that automatically resizes itself in an organized, streamline fashion for optimal viewing on all devices.
What makes a site “mobile-friendly”?
According to Google Webmaster Central, a page is eligible for the “mobile-friendly” label if Googlebot detects 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
How can you make sure your website is mobile-friendly?
- Check your pages with the Mobile-Friendly Test
- Read Google’s updated documentation on our Webmasters Mobile Guide on how to create and improve your mobile site
- See the Mobile usability report in Google Webmaster Tools, which highlights major mobile usability issues across your entire site, not just one page
- Check our how-to guide for third-party software like WordPress or Joomla, in order to migrate your website hosted on a CMS (Content Management System) to use a mobile-friendly template
Common Mobile Mistakes to Avoid
Taken straight from Google Developers. Here are 7 common mistakes made by web developers when adapting a website for mobile:
- Unplayable content
- Faulty redirects
- Mobile-only 404s
- App download interstitials
- Irrelevant cross-links
- Slow mobile pages
We know from experience that the Mobile-friendly test has pointed out several unknown issues that we were able to quickly fix thanks to this tool. We were able to easily check issues against our robots.txt file and make changes to over 30 pages in under 5 minutes.
These changes will be rolled out over the next several weeks with an official launch date of April 21, 2015.