What is changing, however, is the way Google indexes its pages. Starting earlier this year, Google started indexing using the mobile versions of websites, and if your website is not mobile-friendly, it no longer just hurts your ranking on mobile devices and the user experience. Your website’s desktop performance will suffer if Google sees you don’t have an airtight mobile website with penalties from Google.
How Can I Make Sure My Page is Mobile-Friendly?
First things first–you might not need to do much to your website at all. Google provides a handy Mobile-Friendly Test that allows you to analyze the mobility of your website and make any quick fixes that might need to be made.
Of course, there’s always the tried-and-true method of going through your website yourself–take out your smartphone, browse through all the pages, and take note of what is unnecessarily difficult to do, what loads slowly, and what could be made better by doing something simple like rearranging content so more pertinent information appears on top, compressing images, or using larger font.
If you have Google Search Console (side note: you should), you can check out its Mobile Usability tab. It looks something like this:
It gives you a list of all your pages that are valid with no errors, and all the ones that have errors. Errors can range from text being too small to read on a phone, clickable elements being too close together, content being too wide for the screen, incompatible plugins, or more.
I Need To Improve My Site’s Mobility–What Can I Do?
There’s plenty that can be done, but we’ll cover the basics here. First and foremost, Google has been vocal about its preference for a responsive website over the other two main variants for mobile: adaptive and mDot. The responsive design allows your website to shrink or grow based on the device it’s being viewed on, and it won’t alter your HTML at all, which allows you the most complete control over your website.
When adding images and videos onto your website, it’s a common practice to set it to a certain amount of pixels. While this may look good on a desktop, it’s important to remember that your mobile site will display the same amount of pixels, and it will look enlarged on a smaller screen. Instead, configure your images so they have a specific width relative to the page. Setting a width of 100% will display it so it takes up 100% of the screen, no matter the size.
There are certain technologies that were widely accepted not so long ago but are close to obsolete now. One example of this is Flash–mobile devices don’t support them, and even on desktop, Flash can slow down loading times. Find a better alternative to create a simple, fast-loading website.
No matter what your target audience is, mobile is the future. If your website doesn’t adapt, you’ll soon be left in the dust.