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Why your website needs to be “mobile-friendly”

As of April 21, 2015 Google is changing the way they rank search results on mobile devices, effectively penalising non-"mobile-friendly" websites. In the last half of 2014 48% of Google's searches were on mobile devices, and that number is only increasing. Unfortunately, if your website isn't mobile-friendly then you won't be a priority in mobile search results.

What does this mean?

If your website isn’t mobile-friendly then it will be pushed lower down the search results page (or onto the next page) for someone on a mobile phone. This doesn’t mean that a non-mobile-friendly website will be removed from Google’s database, but it does mean that people will be less likely to find it when they search.

If your business relies heavily on new customers then every step down the rankings is bad for business, especially if it can be avoided.

How do I know if my website is mobile-friendly?

It’s very straightforward find out if your website passes the test, simply enter your website’s address into Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. It will take about a minute.

An (all too common) failed test

A screenshot of Melbourne's website failing the Google Mobile-Friendly Test

Unfortunately, Melbourne’s website isn’t (yet) mobile-friendly

A passed test

A screenshot of Jen & Ben Design's website passing the Google Mobile-Friendly Test

Proving that we’re no hypocrites, our website’s homepage is mobile-friendly.

The difference in Google’s search results

Jen & Ben Design's mobile-friendly search result vs. Melbourne's non-mobile-friendly result

Notice the “Mobile-friendly” tag on the left.

In these mobile phone screenshots, we have Jen & Ben Design’s mobile-friendly website that has passed Google’s test on the left, with it’s small, grey “Mobile-friendly” tag. On the right we have Melbourne’s official website, fighting for ranking with several other non-official websites.

What’s to be done?

Depending on how your website is built, the solution now-a-days can be quite straightforward.

A separate website for mobile phones used to be the best (well, only) option, and for some cases it still will be. This method can be unnecessarily complicated and expensive for a small website. Your existing website can be updated to become “responsive”, changing it’s layout to fit better on small screens like mobile phones, while keeping the underlying structure and content.

A diagramatical example of responsive design on a desktop computer, laptop and phone.

Depending on the space available, the layout will adjust itself so everything remains legible and easy to use.

Google likes this approach (recommends it, in fact). It requires minimal input from the website owner, and will not only improve your mobile search result ranking, but make your website generally more effective for people using mobile phones.

The clock is ticking: get in touch with Jen & Ben Design and make sure your website is suited to the ever-growing number of people using their phone to browse the internet.