Say hello to Mobile or wave goodbye to customers

As Google changes the way its search engine works, how can you avoid taking a big drop in the rankings?

As of April 21st, Google will consider a website's mobile-friendliness when ordering results to searches carried out from a smartphone. If your site isn’t optimised, it will drop down the listings and get less organic visits. What's more, if your competitors have optimised sites, theirs will appear above yours.

Here's just a few of the high profile sites that could be affected:

  • The official website of the British Monarchy
  • MI5
  • The official website for the European Union

Enter your website’s URL on this Google webpage to find out if it’s mobile-friendly. If it’s not, here are some things you can do to beat the drop.

1. Ensure your site displays well on a smartphone. Roll out a responsive or adaptive design that renders well on a smaller screen size. Removing the need to scroll horizontally or zoom in will improve online journeys.

2. Update your software. On mobile, Flash files don't work and pop ups are hard to close without zooming in. Get rid of them – investigate how CMS systems with responsive plug ins, or HTML5, can safeguard your site over the years.

3. Accommodate for fat fingers. Place your links and buttons far enough apart so visitors can tap the correct one easily. You may want to make them even more accessible by using CSS styling.

4. Revisit your content. Increase text size so users don't have to zoom in to read your copy. Learn from your Google Analytics if mobile and desktop visitors behave differently. If mobile users only visit a few pages, streamline your mobile site's information architecture and copy.

5. Keep your site up to date. Pay attention to analytics, trends and technological developments to ensure your site doesn’t fall back into old habits. Digital technology is evolving rapidly – growing your site in line with the new developments will help you remain current and competitive.

Mobile optimisation

Once your site is optimised for mobile devices, you may want to look at your search engine optimisation (SEO) from a mobile perspective – it works a little differently than traditional SEO. Here are some tips to get you started.

1. Ensure your pages load quickly. Optimise your images, streamline your code and reduce your caches and redirects to boost your page speeds.

2. Maximise your metadata. As you have less space on a mobile screen, it’s important you optimise your page titles, URLs and meta descriptions.

3. Optimise for local search. Google taps into your location and displays local results. Ensure your name, address and location is listed in your site’s metadata.

4. Tailor your copy to speech searches. More people are searching using OK Google, Siri and Cortana. Ensure your copy is tailored to phrases of speech

5. Don't block CSS, Javascript or images. Webmasters used to block this content as mobiles struggled to display the pages. Times have changed and these files help Google assess your site's mobile-friendliness, so don't hide them!

Mobile isn't just the future, it's here, as Google's move affirms. UXB advocate a mobile-first strategy, ensuring fluid and rewarding customer experiences. Find out how UXB can increase your visibility and improve your online presence.

Get in touch with a member of our team today!

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