All SEO marketers know of the upcoming update from Google that will be focused on a site’s mobile usability. Google made the announcement on their webmaster tools blog near the end of February. The update is to begin April 21st and mobile-friendliness will soon become a ranking factor for sites.
Lets face it, your site should be mobile friendly for other reasons than just pleasing Google. According to SmallBizTrends nearly 60% of all online traffic comes from mobile devices (or apps).
Now with more than half of your site’s traffic coming from phones or tablets, it makes sense to build your site to meet their needs. Typically, if a user finds a site to be difficult to navigate through, they will leave the page and look elsewhere. Google has always made the user the number one priority, and with this latest update mobile compatible sites are what people want to see.
Now before you start freaking out and worrying about your rankings plummeting, lets take a look at some things you can do to make sure your site is mobile friendly.
First thing you should do is check your webmaster tools. Google lets you know what issues are going on with your site, utilize this tool. Webmaster tools will provide a list of mobile issues, what pages they are located on, and update the problems often. An additional tool to help locate issues is Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
Some common mobility usability issues
We took a screenshot of the mobile issues Webmaster Tools provided to us and these seem to be some of the most common.
- Viewport not configured – According to Google “viewport controls how a webpage is displayed on a mobile device”. Essentially this means your page will display as a desktop rather than a mobile page. This means a user may need to scroll left and right to see the page. A simple code can be added that lets Google know the display that should be used.
- Small font size – In most cases fixing the viewport can fix the small font size issue as well. If a page is displaying as a desktop the font will be much smaller, since the viewport of a mobile device is much smaller.
- Touch elements too close – When clickable items on a page are too close it can be aggravating to users to click where they want. By spacing items you can create a simple user experience for your visitors. Two main fixes for this is to make clickable items larger and the other is to make sure there is plenty of spacing between items.
- Content not sized to viewport – Similar to configuring the viewport, making sure the content is sized to viewport can be a quick fix. Almost all pages, mobile and desktop, require users to scroll vertically. Never should your mobile site require users to scroll horizontally.
Now Webmaster Tools is happy, what else can you do? Check your site’s, both mobile and desktop, page speed. Often users will click out of a site if a page takes too long to load. Now many developers and SEO marketers know this to be true on desktop pages, but it holds true to mobile as well. By making changes to your site you can increase the load time of your site, which makes for happy users.
Now that you know the tools to use and what to look for when creating a responsive mobile site it’s time to implement. Don’t wait for Google to penalize your site before you take the initiative to make proper changes to the site.
Do you need help making these changes? Contact our development team to see how we can assist in making your site Google compliant.