Pick up your iPhone or Android right now, pull up your web browser and access Google. Search for your business name. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, it has likely disappeared from your mobile search.

April 21, coined “Mobileggeden” by some, was the first day the mobile-friendliness of websites impacted what is now shown to mobile device users within Google’s search engine result pages. This is a result of Google constantly updating its search algorithms to efficiently meet the requirements of its users. According to the company, “This change [affects] mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact [on] search results.”

Some businesses may need to update their website to address this change. According to BIA/Kelsey, 97 percent of consumers use search as a way to help them make their purchasing decisions. With this in mind, it’s prime time to diagnose, optimize and fix the problem.

Diagnose Your Website

Use Google’s mobile readiness tool to learn if your website is currently mobile ready. Type in your business’s web address into the tool and give it a few minutes to take a “look under the hood.” You’ll get a detailed analysis of what’s working well and what needs fixing.

What will turn on Google’s check engine light?

  • Location: Is a map link with turn-by-turn directions and your phone number(s) at the top of every page when viewed on mobile? 
  • Click to Call: Can shoppers click on the phone number(s) listed on your webpage to call you directly from their device?
  • Fonts: Are they easy to read on a small screen?
  • Touch: Are elements easy to see and use with routine screen gestures, and are they spaced far enough away from other elements?
  • Flash: If any elements rely on Adobe Flash, the Googlebot must be allowed to crawl CSS and JavaScript.
  • Redirects: Be sure to have links to a “mobile site” and/or “desktop site” in your site navigation so shoppers can switch between them.
  • Content: Don’t link a mobile visitor to content that’s not mobile-optimized.
  • Speed: If your site loads slowly on mobile, you’ll run the risk of being flagged by Google.

Update, Update, Update

After your mobile multi-point inspection, your next call will likely be to your website vendor. Send them Google’s results and ask for a responsive website template to be applied to your existing website. This will convert your site content and structure into a format that both Google and mobile users will find easier to use.

If you expect this process to take more than a few weeks, consider using a low-cost mobile website creation service like Duda as a short-term solution to get a mobile-friendly site up and running quickly.

Learning Opportunities

Beyond your site template, spend some time assessing your website’s content. Imagine your typical buyer and the actions they would most likely perform on your website. Are they there to get product information or view your inventory? Are they looking for your address or a phone number? Install Google Webmaster code to learn more and to start collecting data on your site visitors.

Your Google Analytics reporting is another great way to show you exactly how mobile and desktop users navigate your site. Consider possible actions that consumers will take from their mobile devices. With these actions in mind, update your site’s structure to be more mobile friendly, such as making sure that a map locator and phone number(s) are always front and center at the top of every page.

The updates you make to your website today will not only make your store appealing to shoppers searching on mobile, but will also satisfy Google’s changes and enhance your mobile website’s performance and visibility.

Remember, with most businesses today getting half of their website traffic from mobile devices, Google’s change is well-timed to help you be more assertive online and to help you attract more qualified shoppers in 2015 and beyond.

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License Title image by  MIKI Yoshihito (´・ω・) 

Title image by MIKI Yoshihito

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