Starting this Tuesday, April 21, Google is implementing a massive change in the way it will rank your website. The change is all based on ONE thing – whether or not your website is fully optimized for mobile. If not, your rankings will likely take a significant hit.
“Mobilegeddon” is what the cool kids are calling it.
Are YOU ready?
Before you panic, Google has put together a free tool for website owners that will tell you if your site is ok, and if not, why.
So first things first, check your site here.
If you pass, you’ll see something like this:
(I just checked and eCleanMag.com passed the test with flying colors. Thank you Anya Curry of Ambidextrous Services!)
Go ahead, breathe a big sigh of relief, give yourself a high five…then wait for my follow-up article on ways to make your mobile site more reader friendly. Remember, just because Google approves your site doesn’t necessarily mean it’s optimized for the way in which mobile users like to use their devices.
What If You Didn’t Pass?
After checking out my site, I input some other well-known industry websites and several did not fare so well. If this is you, your message will look something like this:
Not only will you get a failure message, you’ll get some bullet points on why your site failed. In the example above (which was from an industry-related site), the problems stated were that the text was too small to read, the links are too close together, and mobile viewport was not set.
If you fail the test, you NEED to fix the problem ASAP. That said, if you can’t fix the problem by Tuesday, you may face “Mobilegeddon” – but it’s not the end of the world. You can rebuild your search credit after the fact, but don’t take too long.
Every day your site isn’t mobile optimized is a day your rankings are going to be lower, and you may lose business. Besides, researchers agree that companies with mobile-optimized sites triple their chances of increasing mobile conversion rates to five percent or more. (Source: Hubspot)
To fix the problem, Google gives you three different configurations that they consider “mobile friendly.” Moving your content to any of the following set-ups can protect you from change.
1. Responsive Design. This is Google’s top recommended design pattern because it doesn’t create two copies of the same site. Viewers can use their mobile device to your regular site and your site automatically adapts to whatever type of device you’re using.
2. Dynamic Serving. This is similar to responsive design in that you use the same URL, but in this case the html actually changes. This type of design will pass the Google test, but Google does comment that it can be error prone.
3. Mobile Website. When mobile devices first began catching on, this was one of the earliest methods for mobile optimization. Your normal website redirects to a mobile-friendly site. The problem is you have to maintain and update two separate sites, not to mention that it’s a less user-friendly method for your customers.
That’s all well and good, but HOW do I fix it?!?!
Unfortunately, there’s not one simple answer for this. Instead, Google provides a list of resources depending on how you set up your website. Here’s that list (and the links):
- I used a CMS (software such as WordPress or Joomla): Click here
- Someone built this site for me: Click here
- I built this site myself (and understand how to code): Click here
If you built your site yourself and don’t know how to fix it, I would suggest at this point looking for a reputable web designer who can help. Yes, it will cost you something to make your site mobile friendly, but if you rely on your Google rankings to help you gain business, then this is an investment you need to make, and do it as quickly as possible.