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Mobile Friendly Google UpdatesIf you follow the world of marketing and search engine optimization, you may have heard about a change to Google’s search algorithm, with the rather disturbing nickname “Mobilegeddon.” Since 2015, Google has rolled out a series of changes that penalize sites that aren’t mobile-friendly. And more changes keep coming. Let’s talk about why it’s important for websites to be mobile-friendly, and Google’s specific changes that address mobile users.

Why Be Mobile Friendly?

A mobile-friendly website.

The world is changing. A greater percentage of users search for websites using browsers on mobile devices, a wide variety of phones and tablets. This rates goes up when you consider users looking up information on local businesses using their phones. We don’t have to tell you that looking at a “normal” website on a phone is pretty annoying, and navigating with normal human-sized thumbs is even worse.

That’s Google’s rationale for emphasizing the mobile search experience. So what does it mean to have a mobile-friendly website, anyway? There are two critical components:

  • Responsive design. Your website should be easily viewable no matter what the screen size.
  • Ease of use. It should be easy for mobile users to navigate your site and perform tasks, such as shopping.

This makes sense not only because it improves your SEO standpoint, but because you want your visitors and customers to be able to easily use and see your site!

Google’s “Mobile-First” Index

In a change this previous Fall, Google announced a test of a “mobile-first” index. That means Google will crawl and index the mobile version of your site as its primary source for content and ranking your site. Before, Google did this on your desktop site only.

If you have a responsive website already, this shouldn’t affect you. You don’t? Google has said that if you do not have a mobile site, they will use the desktop version. With that being said, if you have less content on your mobile version, Google will probably see the less content mobile version.

Example from Google: intrusive interstitials

Improving the Mobile Search Experience

In another piece of news you might have heard, the January 10, 2017 rollout addressed full-screen interstitial ads. Not sure what refers to? “Interstitial” is a fancy term that refers to those ads that pop up when you click on a URL from search results. This all goes back to Google’s stated goal of improving the mobile search experience as a whole.  Interstitial ads that cover all or most of the mobile screen are problematic. These overly intrusive ads can be irritating for mobile users when they cover the main website content, and users have to close them before reading anything else. Smaller ads, such as banners, are considered less of a problem.

Where Do You Start?

Not sure if your site is mobile-friendly? Google has a handy tool. If you’re concerned by your results, or you don’t know to respond to the changes Google rolls out, you don’t have to figure it out on your own. Reputable web design agencies understand the ins and outs of making sites mobile-friendly. If you’re not sure, ask to see their portfolio. They can also provide advice on ads, pop-ups, and other factors that may be hurting the experience of your mobile audience. They also have SEO specialists on staff who keep up with the trends, can answer your questions, and make recommendations that improve your results with smart use of keywords, strategic content writing, search engine marketing (including Google AdWords),and more.

With a little help, your website can be functional on desktop and be mobile-friendly in function and design. Learn more about hiring a web design agency.