Think your desktop site’s good enough for mobile visitors? Does Google?

Google wants website owners to adapt their sites for mobile devices and is taking action. If you have a website that’s not optimized for mobile devices, this should have your full attention.

In the name of providing users of their search services with the best possible results, Google announced that it will begin using mobile-friendliness as a stronger search-ranking factor. This will mean less traffic from Google for sites that fail to take into account the needs of visitors using smartphones and tablets.

When does this happen?

This change to Google’s PageRank algorithm came on April 21st, 2015.

In my experience, people have resisted adapting their websites to accommodate the needs of mobile users.

Some reasons I’ve heard (‘my site looks fine on my phone’, ‘people only use their phones when they aren’t near a real computer’, ‘My customers don’t use smartphones’) reveal a lack of understanding of how people use their iPhones, Android devices, and iPads today.

Whatever their reasons for resisting the rising tide of mobile web use, Google’s policy change moves website mobile-friendliness from the nice-to-have column to the must-have column.

Has your current site got issues?

Has your desktop-centric website got issues? How can you tell? Sites designed before definitely 2007 do; sites designed before 2011 probably do. What needs to change? Users of smaller mobile screens benefit from…

  • layouts that aren’t meant for fixed-width, desktop-sized screens
  • font sizes that make better use of smaller space
  • menus and buttons designed for fingertips — instead of tiny desktop cursors
  • getting rid of filler content that slows people down (which your desktop visitors probably don’t need, either)

A quick look at the difference

a website as seen in pinch-and-zoom mode (left) and mobile-friendly, adaptive mode (right)
Pinch-&-zoom (on the left); mobile-friendly (on the right). Mobile version has a larger logo, a button to expose the navigation, larger webmail button, a search button (that doesn’t appear on the desktop version), larger text, and the sidebar has dropped to the bottom (not shown on this screen).

For users, the miracle of pinch-&-zoom quickly went from cool-&-enabling, to this-is-kind-of-annoying. There is a better way.

Let’s get started

Contact me today; the time to act on this is now.