Google has announced that it’s rolling out its latest mobile-friendly algorithm on the 21st April 2015 so now is the time make sure your website complies (that is if you serious about maintaining your ranking status for mobile searches). Google’s not taking any prisoners either; you’re either mobile-friendly or you’re not. There’s no grey area here. The good news is that it won’t affect desktop search results; the bad news more than 50% of Google searching is done on mobile (according to SimilarWeb data). So if your site is not mobile-friendly you can kiss your great rankings goodbye if someone pulls out their cell phone to find you.
There’s no set time period because it’ll take some time to roll out but they’re predicting about a week. So best to wait until after 28th April to check rankings before you think you’re safe.
Not sure if your website is mobile-friendly?
Help is at hand because Google has developed this nifty tool that allows you to check if your site is mobile-friendly. It only takes a minute so worth doing a quick test now. If they way they display your page differs to what it actually looks like on a mobile phone, don’t stress because it just means that some of the resources on the page are blocked by robots.txt and the Googlebot can’t see them. The only way to get a true result is to unblock all the resources so Google gets the full picture. This is the result you want to get…
So what do you do if your site fails the Google mobile-friendly test?
Panic! OK, just kidding, but on the other hand it is pretty serious stuff if you rely on your website to bring your business leads or sales. Panicking doesn’t help but you really want to fix this as soon as possible, so we thought we’d share some of Google’s Mobile Site Design tips:
- Focus on connecting users to the content they’re looking for quickly.
- Keep calls to action front and centre. Users are usually looking for something specific, like ‘get a quote’ or ‘find a store’ so make it easy for them to get to where they want to be.
- Keep menus short. Users don’t have the patience to look through a long and complicated menu.
- Always make it easy to get back to the home page. Your logo works well for this.
- Don’t be tempted to let promotions to steal the show. They shouldn’t interfere with the navigation and should be clearly different from calls-to-action.
- Users in a hurry or looking for specific information turn to search to find their answer. Always have a search feature near the top of the homepage and make it an open text field.
- Make sure the search results are relevant – display the strongest results first and include smart-search features like autocomplete and spelling corrections.
- Include filters to improve search usability but make sure they always return results or you might irritate them and they’ll go elsewhere to find what they’re looking for.
Commerce & Conversions
- Let users explore your site before making them commit to anything. Forcing them to register when they’re still unsure is a real turn-off. Hey, no one get’s married on the first date!
- Giving users an option to purchase as a guest will also sweeten the deal. You can always offer tangible benefits on checkout to convince them to make the commitment.
- Always include information you already have about a customer, especially third-party payment services that help make conversions easy. If they need to go find the details themselves they might postpone the purchase when they have more time.
- Include click to call buttons at crucial points in the transaction where they may need help.
- Allow them to finish the transaction or resume their journey on another device. Some users are still skeptical about converting on their mobile device, so offer a simple way they can pick it up on their tablet or desktop through social sharing, email or save-to-cart functionality.
Usability and form factor
- Design all the pages of your site for mobile and your visitors will appreciate it.
- Don’t make them pinch-to-zoom to find call-to-action buttons. Make sure important buttons can be viewed without zooming in or they might miss them.
- Use high-quality close-ups of product images so they can see what they buying.
- Prompt users to change the screen orientation if the content is better viewed in portrait/landscape.
- Don’t make users feel that they’re missing some content when browsing the mobile version. Rather use the terms ‘Mobile Site’ and ‘Desktop Site’ instead of ‘Full site’ and ‘Mobile site’.
If you’d like to read more about how you can make your website more mobile-friendly, you can download the full research findings that Google and AnswerLab uncovered.
Now that you know what Google expects and how your site currently stacks up you’re in a good position to plan what needs to be done. And if you need some help, we’re just one click away!