Mobile Friendly Websites and SEO: Small businesses are often encouraged to have an online presence, and we strongly agree with that here at Rippleout! However, having a website is no good if you don’t maintain it, or keep up to date with changes in the online marketing landscape. One such change in the search marketing landscape has recently been announced by Google – and it’s one small business need to be aware of.

Mobile Friendly Websites and SEO

Google’s Mobile Friendly Algorithm Change

For those of you who don’t know, on April 21st 2015 Google will be altering its search algorithm to include whether or not websites are mobile friendly. From this date, if your website is not mobile friendly it may suffer in the search results compared to your competitors who do have mobile optimised sites.

Checking If Your Site is Mobile Optimised

One of the first things you need to do before taking action is to establish whether or not your current website is currently set up to be optimised for mobile phones, tablets and other formats.

Among the quickest ways to do this to use Google’s own mobile friendly testing form – available here: Google Mobile Friendly Tester.

It’s also worth looking in to your Webmaster tools account – if you don’t have access to this, speak to your web agency. Within Webmaster tools there is a section called ‘Search Traffic’, and within that you will find ‘Mobile Usability’. The Mobile Usability section will give you details on the number of pages on your site that have issues, and the specific issues encountered by Google’s crawlers on those pages. Visit Webmaster tools, via this link: Google Webmaster Tools.

Some of the most common issues with websites are that touch elements (i.e. buttons on a menu, social media links etc.) are positioned too closely together, fonts are too small, and your content is not ‘sized to viewport’ – i.e. not sized to the device the viewer is using.

Note: Crawlers can be thought of as little ‘robots’ which Google sends around the internet to keep up to date with the changes to websites, and find the sources of information, so that it can deliver them to searcher via the search engine results pages.

Positives for Mobile Optimisation

As well as ensuring that your site is better optimised for Google – which will help your site in terms of SEO – making your website accessible to mobile and tablet users also makes sense for other reasons.

For instance, people are increasingly likely to find your website via a mobile device. If on encountering your business, they have to scroll left to right, or they struggle to click important links or buttons on your website, they will leave and look at your competitors.

Note: The mobile friendly algorithm change will only affect searches being carried out on mobile devices, not on computers or laptops.