So, I’m going to start off by assuming that if you’re reading this, you have no knowledge of the technical SEO implications of a mobile friendly website.
In April 2015, Mobilegeddon happened. I mean, whether or not it actually caused lots of disruption in the search results has been debated in the SEO community, but it was a certified Big Deal for a long time. Google said that they were going to give priority to sites that were considered mobile friendly. So if your site looked like this on a mobile device, you thought you were fucked. Webmasters scrambled to update their desktop-only websites to a responsive design, or made a completely separate mobile-specific site. Either way, people were trying to prepare for that mobile priority.
It was… pretty lackluster, honestly. But it did what Google wanted: it got people to prioritize mobile design. Now, Google is saying they’re moving towards a “mobile-first index”. What does that mean in layman’s terms? It means Google is going to look at your mobile site to determine your search rankings. If your website doesn’t play nice with mobile devices, your rankings will suffer.
What does mobile friendliness mean?
The Almighty Google puts it best:
“The desktop version of a site might be difficult to view and use on a mobile device. The version that’s not mobile-friendly requires the user to pinch or zoom in order to read the content. Users find this a frustrating experience and are likely to abandon the site. Alternatively, the mobile-friendly version is readable and immediately usable.”
Why does it matter if you’re mobile friendly or not?
For a while, sites had a “mobile friendly” notation next to the site description in search results. It was a way to determine which sites would be the best choice for you if you were using a mobile browser. I haven’t seen that recently, but whether or not you’re mobile friendly does impact your search rankings. Sites that have a better user experience will be ranked higher, and if you’re not mobile friendly, that’s gonna be rough.
How do you tell if you’re mobile friendly?
Chances are, if you’re using WordPress or something similar, you’re good. WordPress does a good job of helping out its users by taking care a lot of the back end unless you’re self-hosting, but even then you’re probably fine.
But if you’re itching to know, there is a test you can do. It’s page by page so it won’t test your whole site (maybe it will in the future?) but it’s good to just test your homepage and some high-value pages.
If your site doesn’t pass the test, Google’s mobile-friendly test will give you a good starting point on where to start fixing things. If you need some help getting the ball rolling, give me a shoutout on Twitter and let’s chat!
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