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What’s Mobilegeddon?

On April 21st, Google will be changing its mobile search algorithm to favour mobile friendly websites. This means that if your website is not easy to read on a mobile, it might go down in mobile search rankings. This is important because if your site is not mobile friendly, you could get less traffic and ultimately lose business.

If your website isn’t mobile friendly, google won’t block or remove your site, but companies with a mobile friendly site will have an advantage over you. Customers won’t be able to find your website as easily.

By updating their search algorithm in this way, google is trying to put mobile users first, ensuring that they have a better online experience. As more people use mobile devices to access the internet, Google is changing its algorithms accordingly. Google hasn’t commented on how the algorithm has been changed, but it will affect a large number of sites, as about half of all google searches are now made from mobile devices.

Is My Site Mobile Friendly?

Google has provided website owners with a free mobile friendly test service. Insert a url, and Google will determine whether the website is mobile friendly or not. A website is mobile friendly if it is easy to read and navigate on a mobile device, with a minimum of scrolling, resizing and panning.

The test takes into account several factors. For example, the size of the font might be too small, making it difficult to read on a mobile device, or too large, making the reader scroll down too much. Also, if the links on a site are too close together, then it can be easy to misclick, taking the reader to the wrong webpage. Site speed is another factor, most mobile users won’t wait more than five seconds for a page to load before moving on to another site. Also, a lot of videos that will play on a pc won’t play on a mobile device, depriving mobile users of content. Finally, the content might be too wide, or the page might be unable to the viewport, meaning that the reader has to scroll left or right to read the entire text.

All of these factors can make your site more or less mobile friendly, so if you want to change the layout of your website you should have these things in mind. If the result of the test is negative, google will provide you with advice on how to improve, based on who designed the site and with which tools.

How can I prepare?

If your website is not ready for the google algorithm change, what can you do to improve it?

If your company website hasn’t adapted to mobile search already, there are a couple of solutions you can implement in preparation for the change. One option is to create a separate mobile friendly site. Some websites, such as breastcancer.org have created separate sites for mobile and tablet devices. The other option is to use responsive design to make your content compatible with as many viewing formats as possible.

There are various pros and cons to these two solutions. Some companies have opted to create ‘m.’ sites, or separate mobile-only sites, as they can customize a unique experience for their mobile users. It’s also a good choice if it would be too expensive to redesign your site responsively.

However, Google recommends that in most cases responsive web design is the best option, as does Wirebox. The benefits of responsive sites are that they have continuity of brand, codebase and domain. A responsive website on a desktop will be recognisable as the same site on a mobile device. It’s also easier to maintain, as you only have to manage one site rather than several, meaning that there’s less possibility of copying errors.

In conclusion, while some are dubbing the oncoming algorithm change ‘mobilegeddon’, you shouldn’t panic. Making your website mobile friendly doesn’t need to be difficult, and can be done effectively with a good web development team.