Google recently announced that as of April 21, 2015, they are placing much more emphasis on mobile-friendliness as part of their ranking algorithm. They have already started adding a label on search results indicating whether pages or sites are mobile-friendly. This is a good thing for users of Google, as it is now easier to find results that are optimized for whatever device someone is using. But, it could have an impact on websites that are considered not mobile-friendly.
The 2014 E-Expectations Report based on a survey of 1,000 college-bound high school students showed that two-thirds of students checked their email at least once a day using their mobile device. Check your website analytics and see if you have this same high percentage of mobile visitors and what their behavior is.
What makes a website mobile-friendly? Here are Google’s characteristics:
- Avoids using software that does not always work on a mobile device (e.g., Flash)
- Uses text that is readable without zooming
- Uses a mobile viewport to adjust the size of the content so it can be read without scrolling horizontally or zooming
- Links are far enough apart so they can easily be tapped
So how do you know if Google considers your website mobile-friendly? Luckily, Google has a Mobile-Friendly Test where you can assess pages of your site. While the mobile-friendliness of your site will be simply yes or no, Google offers explanations and recommendations if it determines the pages are not mobile-friendly. If you are using a content management system (CMS) like OU Campus, the test results will provide guidelines for improving mobile-friendliness within the CMS. Be sure to check out Google’s guide to mobile-friendly sites.
Even if your site is responsive and you think it’s mobile-friendly, run the check right now to find out if Google agrees.
If you are using Google Webmaster Tools, you can get a full list of mobile-friendly issues using the Mobile Usability Report.
Learn more about this change Google has made in the webcast we did with Converge Consulting, a firm of experts specializing in higher education marketing, search engine optimization, and helping you make your website mobile-friendly.
In addition, check out OmniUpdate’s dedicated mobile website solution that passes the mobile-friendly test and compliments and synchronizes with the desktop version of your website.