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Mobile Friendly Web Design – How to Survive Mobilegeddon

Another Google algorithm update has been rolled out. Has your ranking been impacted? Does Google find your website to be Mobile Friendly? If you aren’t sure, there are a number of ways you can find out if your Google ranking is doing well for smartphone users, or if you have some work to do. Should there be a need to modify the design of your website for smartphones, you’ll find a number of resources here about mobile friendly web design.

April 21st, 2015 was a red letter day in digital marketing circles, after Google announced it would be rewarding websites which it deemed to be mobile friendly. Unlike the Panda, Penguin, Pigeon and Hummingbird updates before it, Google provided some detailed SEO guides about preparing for the date many inbound marketing experts termed “Mobilegeddon”.

Fundamental elements of a mobile friendly website include:

Responsive Web Design (RWD)

RWD means a common web experience across smartphones, tablets and desktop computers, where page content expands and contracts to fit the size of the user’s device. This means having adequate open space on your site surrounding your content, collapsible sidebars, dynamic images and graphics and other elements which automatically configure themselves based on the device which calls up your website. Many web Content Management Systems (CMS) such as WordPress, Sitefinity and Drupal make deploying a responsive website much easier.

Mobile Friendly Navigation and CTA Buttons

Many consumers are making online purchases from smartphones these days, or making their decisions of what to buy in store on their mobile devices. Making it easy for visitors to find the buttons or links to get to the information they want is critical. Having high-contrast, thumb-friendly “Click-to-Call” or “Order Now” buttons is critical to reaching the iPhone, Android, Windows Phone or yes, even Blackberry user. If you want to see how your website looks on most of these devices, use a mobile device emulator or, better yet, Google’s Mobile-Friendly testing page.

Robots.txt, Page Loading Speed and Content Overload

Some of the errors you might get from the Google Developers’ Console (formerly Webmaster Tools) include

  • txt blocking the Googlebot from measuring page loading speed
  • Content not fitting the screen,
  • Links being too close together
  • Text being too small to read
  • The mobile viewport (viewing area) is not set

If some of these errors occur on your site, fear not! Google provides you with advice on how to fix your site to resolve these issues. We checked the ServerMania website for mobile friendliness, and you’ll be happy to hear we passed!

If you are using one of the popular web CMS software applications, or e-commerce engines which are available in the marketplace, you are quite possibly already mobile friendly, or there may be quick and easy ways for you to adapt your site for smartphones. If you built your site from the ground up with HTML or a more “development intensive” website builder, you may have more work ahead of you.

One caveat to keep in mind about the Google mobile-friendly web design algorithm is that it really applies to smartphone searches only. It doesn’t apply to searches from tablets, laptops or desktop PCs. Mobile SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) are small as it is, so getting on to page one is a challenge in itself. If you don’t have a site which is deemed mobile friendly by Google, no amount of blogging, back linking or social signals are going to get you on to “Page One Jr.”

For further insights on getting ready for Mobile SEO, the web presence optimization wizards at gShift have a great webinar on the topic. Servermania offers a number of Cloud hosting packages for websites and applications, let’s talk!

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Chris Niedojadlo

Chris Niedojadlo

Chris Niedojadlo is the COO of ServerMania.