It’s official – Google will finally take into account the mobile friendliness of a website when ranking sites. This change should not be seen as a surprise. All the marketing industry knew that this day would come at some point. Speaking bluntly, the number of users who access the Internet on their mobile devices has beat the number of Internet users who use their laptops or desktops. Over 1.5 billion people spend more time online on a tablet or a smartphone than on a laptop. Google had to intervene.
According to Google’s official statement released on February 26, 2015, mobile friendly sites will rank higher in search results. Additionally, Google’s search results will provide more relevant app content. Apps that will be indexed through App indexing will begin to have higher rankings in mobile search results.
We will break up all the changes Google brings to the table by starting to talk about Google’s new Mobile Friendly Test Tool.
How to Test if a Website is Mobile Friendly
This new tool Google has recently launched can be found at https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/. Simply copy paste the link of your website and in less than one minute Google will tell if your website is mobile friendly or not. If links are not too close together, the text is not too small to read, the page is easy to navigate and Googlebot can freely access all links for mobile users, your website to being considered mobile friendly. Or, to check the responsiveness of a website you can simply reduce the size of your browser window and if you’re website is responsive, it will reformat itself in real time to match the size of the media window.
Anyone can check if a website is labeled as a “mobile-friendly” site or is not yet ready for mobile users. This tool could prove invaluable for website owners who are ready to optimize their websites for Google’s new mobile search algorithm.
In addition to Google’s Mobile Friendly Test Tool, you have several other tools at your disposal you can use to check if your website is adapted to your mobile users’ needs. You can look for articles online that teach you how to create and improve your mobile site. You can also check the Mobile Usability report that you can find here https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-usability.
WordPress Plugins for Responsive Websites
Even though the migration process towards a mobile platform is quite tedious, it is worth spending your precious time optimizing your website. In fact, failure to optimize your website for mobile and tablet could seriously dock your sites performance in the SERPs. Given that Google has been incredibly vocal about the changes, a stark contrast to its typical opaqueness, we can expect that this update may be a serious weighted factor.
The good news is that you can speed up the whole process by choosing the right WordPress plugins for your responsive website. Some of the best plugins available on the market are LinkPatrol, JetPack, WP Mobile Detector and WP Mobile Edition. All these plugins enable you to create fully-optimized mobile websites that are suitable for iOS, Android and Windows. All of these plugins allow cross-platform access and let you customize and personalize your website in order to suit your needs.
Another important criterion to keep in mind when mobile optimizing your website for SEO are mobile subdomains. In order to have a fully optimized mobile version of your site, you need to put it on its own subdomain. A few years ago, at the inception of mobile websites, most companies used to create an entirely new website on a new subdomain. For instance, websites such as www.foxnews.mobi or www.amazon.mobi are part of that generation. However, when you are creating an entirely new domain, you are starting from the scratch from an SEO point of view.
The reason mobile subdomains such as m.website.com are so popular is the SEO benefits they bring. If you optimize one part of the site, the other part will also benefit of this.
Hire a Web Designer
If everything else fails and you find yourself unable to optimize your website on your own, or your website is too old to be optimized by standard software tools, you can always hire an experienced web developer who can do all the work in your place. However, you need to ensure that he is well versed in responsive design and that his portfolio meets your needs or even exceeds your wildest expectations.