This post has been updated from it’s original version, posted on November 23rd.
Google made another big announcement regarding mobile-friendly websites. On February 26th they announced that having a mobile-friendly site will affect your blog’s search engine ranking. Here’s the official statement,
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. –Google Webmaster Blog
I’m not really surprised by this announcement. When I first published this post in November, Google announced that it would be adding a “mobile-friendly” friendly label to sites that had a mobile responsive sites.
They were just preparing us for this new change. Luckily, you have until April 21st to make your blog mobile-friendly before the change goes into affect. If you want people when they are searching on mobile devices, you should make sure your site is mobile-friendly.
According to Google, your page is mobile-friendly if it 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
How do I know if my blog is mobile friendly?
Google has created this handy tool for checking to see if your blog is mobile-friendly.
This is the mobile-friendly test I ran on my twitter friend Amy’s blog:
Next, I tested it out on a popular blog that I knew wasn’t mobile friendly and got this result:
This particular blog is not mobile friendly for these reasons: The text is too small to read, the links are too close together, the mobile viewport is not set, and the content is wider than the screen.
Go check yours to see if it is mobile friendly.
What does Google’s change mean for my blog?
Your blog needs to be mobile friendly. Not only for Google’s sake but for the sake of your readers! The whole reason Google created the mobile friendly label is to “make it easier for people to find the information that they’re looking for”
Go take a look at your web analytics, what percentage of your pageviews are on a mobile device?
(not sure how to get there? Log in to your Google Analytics account, navigate to Audience > Mobile > Overview)
What percentage of your traffic is viewing your blog on a mobile device?
That means that 49% of my traffic is viewing my mobile responsive design and not my desktop version! It is frustrating for readers to have to zoom to see the text on your page. It is also very frustrating when the text is too small to click on links. Using a mobile friendly devices eliminated those frustrations.
How can I make my blog mobile friendly?
If you are on a self-hosted WordPress blog, I always recommend the Genesis Framework + theme. Most of their themes are mobile responsive without any additional coding on your part. I also love that the mobile-friendly version remains true to the themes design.
Google also has documentation for creating a mobile responsive WordPress blog.
If you blog on blogger, you will want to set your settings to enable the mobile template.
You can also check out my favorite tool for testing your site’s mobile responsiveness. You type your URL and then it shows you what your site looks like on common device sizes.
Links to Genesis are affiliate links. If you find this information helpful please use the links! It’s no cost to you and it helps me to fund this site. Thanks!