Is mobile friendliness all hype?

Not at all!  The biggest impact to online ‘search’ in 2015 was mobile.  On April 21, 2015 Google implemented mobile friendliness as a ranking factor in mobile search results. If your site is mobile friendly you can expect to rank above your competitors who don’t have a mobile friendly site.  Conversely pages designed only for large screens may see a significant decrease in rankings in mobile search results.

Why has Mobile friendliness become a ranking signal.

Google is about providing the most relevant and timely results to its users.  As more and more people use mobile devices Google’s algorithms have had to adapt to these new usage patterns.  Google wants to provide a better mobile experience for its mobile users.  (Desktop and tables haven’t been effected.)

In early 2014 internet usage on mobile devices exceeded desktop usage for the very first time, and this trend has only continued to grow.  In Australia during 2015

~  45% of Australians used a smart phone as often or more often than a computer for accessing the internet
~  9/10 consumers under 44 are smart phone users
~  today’s shopper is an online shopper ~ 30% of shoppers use smart phones for researching products and services
~  6/10 people are using search engines on smart phones at least weekly
~  53% of users experience issues when accessing websites on mobile, 28% of users will find another website that works better

… making it crucial for businesses to think mobile!

What is mobile friendliness?

Mobile friendliness is about providing the user with optimal viewing and an interactive experience and easy reading without the need for pinching and squeezing, panning and scrolling.

Mobile sites v responsive sites

Mobile (m.) sites are a second version of your website, designed specifically for display on smart phones and are generally an abridged version of your main website.  In turn, a responsive site is your website designed to adapt to the screen size of the device being used. The layout changes and adapts; pieces move and shift in order to maintain a usable design

Mobile sites and responsive sites are assessed in the same way for mobile friendliness.

How do I know if my mobile site is friendly?

Generally, if your site was built before 2013, and unless you asked your developer specifically, your website will not be responsive.  However most, if not all, new sites should be mobile friendly.

Google has a great tool that will tell you if your site is mobile friendly and, if it’s not, it will tell you what to do.

Check out Google’s mobile friendliness tool to determine if your site meets Google’s requirements.  https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/  Make sure to check each URL of your site.

Note:  you may have a great mobile site, however the Google Friendly tool is saying it doesn’t pass the test.  The most common reason is that the google bot for smart phones is blocked from crawling resources, like CSS etc, that are critical for determining whether the page is legible and usable on a mobile device.  Talk to your web developer to resolve any issue.

So where to from here?

We recommend you run your website through Google’s tool above. If it tells you your site is mobile friendly, that’s great – you’ve got nothing to worry about. But if it tells you your site isn’t mobile friendly, then we recommend you consider getting a mobile friendly website as soon as possible, especially if you want to maintain your Google rankings.

Jane Cluff

Jane Cluff

Senior digital strategist

Google Rating
Based on 40 reviews