Google Searches Favor Quality Content and Mobile-Friendliness

If you heeded our warnings last year and have a fully mobile-friendly website up and running, you should now begin to reap the benefits with higher Google search rankings and more mobile traffic to your site.

Google has now completed the rollout of its new ranking algorithm which will give a boost to sites that have earned their “mobile-friendly” label. With more and more people conducting web searches from mobile devices, you definitely want to make sure your site is poised to take advantage of this boost. 

How Can You Tell If Your Site Is Mobile-Friendly?

It’s not just search engines who want your mobile site to rock—your users do, too. We’re frequently seeing 50 percent or more of our clients’ traffic is coming from their mobile sites. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you could easily lose that traffic to a competitor!

You can test your site’s mobile usability in a few ways. The first way is a no-brainer that many people forget to do: use it! See how easy it is to navigate, how long it takes to load, and if the site design is intuitive, and doesn’t require tons of zooming, squinting, and frustration to find the information you need. You can also use Google’s testing tool to see if your site dons the mobile-friendly label by submitting the URL on this page:

"Mobile sites are a completely different user experience than desktop sites. Google has seen an extremely high increase in mobile traffic in the last couple years, and I believe it will dwarf desktop in the near future. Mobile sites are also a great way to promote apps unlike desktop sites."

Zach Stone, SEO Analyst

Google’s Standards for a Mobile-Friendly Website

If you made the cut, good for you, but that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook! Whether you have a mobile-friendly label or not, there are a number of things you can do to make Google and your users love your mobile site. Never stop improving: if you set it and forget it, you’ll surely fall behind at some point (Google loves updates).

As a matter of fact, Google started sending mass notifications to webmasters about their mobile-friendly sites as I was writing this article! How’s that for a crazy coincidence?! It's also a sign to get your mobile site in the best shape possible.

The two criteria you want to look at first are speed and usability.

Speed: Like your desktop site, speed is a major factor in your mobile site’s performance. Below are some of the most critical elements for getting your site as speedy as possible and ranking better in search engine results. Talk to your web developer to be sure they have these elements in place. If not, it’s time to discuss a new mobile site!

  1. Minify CSS, JavaScript, and HTML: If this sounds like Greek to you, don’t worry—it’s just “coder-speak” for making files and stylesheets as compact as possible. If you eliminate unnecessary characters, spaces, line breaks, and HTML sizing, your mobile site will take less time to load.
  2. Optimize images: If you’ve got a 5000 pixel image on mobile site that will only display 270 pxs, you’re wasting bandwidth by requiring your users’ device to download that image. Shrink the dimensions down to the maximum size that will be displayed for faster loading time.
  3. Avoid mobile site redirects: This is a critical one. Your site speed will be hugely affected if you’re redirecting users to an “m-dot” website (you know the one— Your website should be dynamic and display the same information on all devices, formatted for the device each reader happens to have at hand.

Usability: Google has always pushed for the best possible user experience, so you cannot fall short in this category!

  1. Tap targets should be sized appropriately: You know how frustrating it feels to try and tap on a tiny little link?  While some may refer to this issue as a “first world problem,” it doesn’t mean you can ignore it—your users certainly aren’t! Make sure your links and “tap-able” items are at least 48 pixels tall and wide.
  2. Avoid plugins: Plugins, such as Flash, Silverlight, and Java, are necessary for processing special types of web content. They're a known cause of many compatibility, performance, and security conflicts and should be avoided. We've invested many developer hours in creating a cross-platform video solution for our clients' sites. Has your web developer done the same?
  3. Configure and size the viewport: This tells your browser to set the width of the site equal to the width of the device. Sizing the viewport ensures all the content on the site can dynamically and automatically scale down and be no wider than the width of the screen.
  4. Use legible font sizes: Yes, it turns out that, I really do need to point this one out! There should be a baseline text size, and all other font should be relative to this baseline.

Check out some snapshots of our awesome mobile sites here:





Wondering If Your Mobile Site Made the Cut?

How does your mobile site work for you? Think like a user: act as if this is the first time you’ve ever visited the mobile site and see how easy it is to use. If it gets your seal of approval, check to see if it gets Google’s seal of approval, as well. If it doesn’t, talk to your web developer about a new mobile site ASAP!

  1. Mobile usability: Want to know how your entire mobile site is performing? Webmaster Tools lets you do this from the dashboard; just go to “search traffic” and “mobile usability” to get a read on how well your mobile site works.
  2. Individual page performance: If you’re tracking your marketing, you will know which of your pages receive the most traffic. See how these pages perform on a case-by-case basis here:


Mobile sites are very important for your local SEO, as well. A lot of mobile searches are localized. If your website is not optimized for mobile, it can severely impact your visibility to those searches who are extremely close to a conversion on a mobile device.

Laura Johnson, SEO Manager


Don’t Get Left Behind!

Your website is your brand, represented online. If your website traffic is coming from your mobile site (and trust me, it is) you need to make sure it’s just as responsive and usable as your business!

If your website doesn’t stack up, it’s time to talk to your developer about a new mobile site. Foster Web Marketing’s website architecture is top-notch in order to create some of the most responsive, speedy, and usable mobile sites. All of those standards listed above? We’ve not only met them, we’ve invested tons of time, research, and money to create the best mobile websites for our clients and our own site!

Ready to make your mobile site rock? Call us at 888-886-0939, and find out how we can help!


Related Links:

Is Your Mobile Website Ready for Action?

Top Benefits of Having a Mobile App for Your Law Firm

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