Importance of Being Mobile-Friendly

Mobile-Friendly is no longer an option!

On Google’s Webmaster Central Blog, the search engine announced they are continuing in their efforts to adapt the algorithms to the way people use the internet.  Since more and more people search the internet on mobile devices, Google is “expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.  This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”  Did youcatch that?  A significant impact!  April 21,2015 the change is made and that means your ecommerce store needs to change as well.

What is mobile-friendly?  What does it mean?

Mobile-friendly means your site is easy to read and navigateon a mobile device.  Just because you can see a desktop website on a mobile phone, doesn’t mean it is mobile-friendly.  A mobile site is actually designed for small screens and has the needs of mobile users top of mind.  Mobile-friendly sites load quickly, require very little scrolling and are easy to use.  Not all features of your desktop website maybe available on a mobile site. 

What do you need to do to takeadvantage of the Google rankings boost for mobile-friendliness?

You need to first find out if your site is mobile-friendly.  If it is, you have nothing to worry about and it is business as normal.  If on the other hand, your site is not optimized for mobile devices, you need to get busy and fast. 

If you don’t know whether you have a mobile optimized site, Google will tell you.  Take a look atyour mobile phone.  Pull up a Google search page and search for your site name without the .com.  Google adds what it calls mobile-friendly labels to search results.  They look like this

So if you searched for pure-ecommerce on your mobile phone, you would find this:

To be eligible for amobile-friendly label, a website must meet the following criteria as detectedby Googlebot:

  • Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
  • Uses text that is readable without zooming
  • Sizes content to the screen so users don't have to scroll horizontally or zoom
  • Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped

So now you know if you have a mobile friendly site or not.  If there is no label, you can stop reading and start getting one. If you have the label, we suggest going a step further to be sure it is performing well:

To see how well your website works on mobile devices, you can go to Google’s Mobile Friendly Test Page.

All you need to do is copy your website URL and paste it into the box.  Click Analyze. If you get a message saying, “Awesome! This Site is Mobile-Friendly, you are done!  Relax and enjoy. 

If however, you get a message saying, “Not mobile-friendly” you have work to do.

Make your site mobile-friendly

You can purchase extensions that are added to your cart to make the website mobile-friendly.  Pure-Ecommerce has two options:  Basic Mobile Friendly  and a Premium Mobile Friendly package.Once this is installed, double check it by repeating the Mobile-Friendly Test. 

Continued monitoring is advisable!

While Google has been kind and given us all sufficient warning of this update, they don’t claim to tell us everything about it.  They do however, give us tools to identify whether we’re on the right track or not.  Use your Google Webmaster Tools and create a Mobile Usability Report.  This tool analyzes many aspects of your mobile site and will help you understand how it reacts to different mobile devices. 

To check out the mobile usability of your site, log into your Google Webmaster Tools account.  Select SearchTraffic > Mobile Usability.

If it says there are no mobile usability errors detected then everything is great and you’re good to go. If on the other hand, it reports errors, then you will need to takeaction to correct them.

One last thing!

Once you have your mobile-friendly website and everything is good with no usability errors you will want to resubmit your site map to Google to be extra sure they know you’ve updated and now are mobile friendly.  To resubmit your sitemap, log into your Webmaster Tools account.  Select Optimization> Sitemaps.  Click on the /sitemap.xml file and then click thered, resubmit button. 

For more information on Mobile SEO, check out:

Google Developers Mobile SEO Guide

Principles of Mobile Site Design:  Delight Users and Drive Conversions