Is Your Website Google Mobile-Friendly Ranking Algorithm Ready?

google mobile udpate

Google’s algorithm updates for the coming month might just be another major reason for you to improve your website’s mobile-friendliness. Google will be releasing a mobile-friendly ranking algorithm starting April 21st and is expected to fully roll out in a week. A site’s mobile-friendliness will now be considered as a ranking signal, promoting those sites that provide a friendly experience to mobile searchers while demoting those that don’t. Google made it clear that the update is designed to improve searcher experience. By upgrading the search results, searchers can steer clear of pages that are not mobile-friendly.

The announced algorithm update will only affect mobile search results and is on a page-by-page basis. The huge change in the ranking algorithm will definitely create a noteworthy impact. It is however quite distressing to know that your site is either mobile-friendly or not. You are not ranked according to the degree of your site’s mobile-friendliness, with the said update, there is no such thing as slightly mobile-friendly or very mobile-friendly.

On a brighter note, Google has been tipping us off about a handful of notices to heed to before the launch of the ranking algorithm update. Aside from putting under the Search Traffic Section the new “Mobile Usability” item, they have been also sending out notices about mobile usability issues that need to be addressed. Additionally, websites can now determine ahead if their pages qualify to benefit from the update. You can try looking up your website on a mobile device; if there is a “mobile-friendly” label found in your site’s description snippet, then you are good. If there is none, then you better start working on it. A mobile-friendly testing tool is also provided by the search giant to help you verify if a certain page is mobile-friendly or not. After the test, Google also presents the issues that needed fixing. These problems may be as simple as making your mobile page faster, or as difficult as considering a redesign to make it more responsive. Whatever the case is, it is deemed critical to avoid and solve those mistakes that may put your site in jeopardy.

It is so important to take action and prepare yourself for the update because, as they say, the impact of it will be BIG. It may even be bigger than Panda and Penguin! If you have not yet gone mobile or you find that your mobile site is not in the clear, there is no need to panic.

We have compiled a handful of common issues that we have noticed that require immediate attention if you want your site to pass the mobile-friendliness test.

  • Text too small to read

This is definitely a no-brainer. If your site is using a font size that is pretty much smaller than the recommended one, Google would definitely consider it scarcely legible and not mobile-friendly. Before addressing this issue, check if your viewport is configured properly.

Know that the recommended base font size is 16 CSS pixels. Your text must also have vertical space between the characters so that it will not look cramped. The recommended browser default line-height is 1.2em. Also, try to keep the number of fonts used to a minimum. Widely varying fonts and font sizes are absolutely not a pretty sight to look at.

  • Links too close together

When touch elements are too close together, searchers tend to accidentally click on the wrong link. This can be one of the most annoying and unfriendly issues to deal with when mobile browsing. Mobile devices and tablets only provide a limited amount of space for the finger to hover around. It is, therefore, essential that tap targets should at least be 48 CSS pixels in height/width. Links and other tap targets that are smaller than the recommended size should have additional spacing. It is important to keep a distance of 32 CSS pixels between tap targets for both horizontally and vertically.

  • Size Content to Viewport

Be it on a desktop or a mobile device, users typically scroll through a website vertically. Some users are forced to scroll horizontally due to inappropriate sizing of page content relative to a specific viewport. This common issue undeniably provides a poor mobile experience to the users. For a responsive mobile design, it is highly recommended that the viewport should be configured so that content on your pages shows up correctly in varying screen dimensions on different devices. You should also not use a fixed/specific viewport width for your page content. It is important that you set relative width values instead of large absolute widths for your images and other elements.

Google Mobile Update 2015 – Other Things to Consider

The search giant also dropped some tips to follow to help convert your site into a mobile-friendly design. Google enumerated some common mistakes that are usually evident on several mobile websites. Read through our overview of the guide and make sure that your site doesn’t commit any of the these mistakes!

  1. Blocked Java Script, CSS and image files

Make sure that Googlebot has access to the JavaScript, CSS, and images found on your website. When the robots.txt blocks these assets, it can ultimately hamper smooth rendering and indexing.

  1. Unplayable content

Well, this one can be a little too annoying. Websites that feature license-constrained media and other content that are not supported on mobiles are definitely not mobile-friendly!

  1. Faulty redirects

Your website must not redirect your users to other inappropriate pages that are not requested originally. It is important that your server is configured in a way that your users are redirected on each desktop URL to the equivalent mobile URL. If a particular page on your site does not have a mobile equivalent, then keep your users on the desktop page.

  1. Mobile-only 404s

To guarantee a mobile-friendly experience, a desktop page that has an equivalent mobile page using a separate URL must redirect the mobile user to the appropriate mobile page instead of showing an error page.

  1. App download interstitials

What could be more frustrating than visiting a website and having unwarranted apps shoved down the user’s throat? We mean no harm to those who just simply want to promote their business’ apps, but it should not get to the extreme point of disrupting the user’s usage of the site, right? Using a simple HTML banner that does not block the entire page and prevent the users from going about their business on the site should also be taken into consideration.

  1. Irrelevant cross-links

This error is so simple yet commonly committed. There are websites that tend to overlook their crosslink slip-ups. To ensure optimal mobile experience, always check that the links provided correctly point to the appropriate equivalent page.

  1. Slow mobile pages

This advice couldn’t get any more straightforward. Websites are expected to render the page content in a reasonably fast manner. Waiting for what seems like hours to see the content makes users impatient and frustrated, thus resulting in a poor mobile experience.

Make sure you take steps in advance to ensure your mobile compliant updated website is ready for the Google update, just a few weeks away.  Find out more from Search Engine Land Here.

Shares 0

About the Author Stephen Gardner

I'm Stephen Gardner, from New York. I am a full-time Internet Consultant and business owner. My entrepreneurial journey started in 2011, when I resigned from my full time job as a database developer. I went from a 9-5 job living paycheck to paycheck to starting my own successful Internet business. While the journey has not always been the smoothest ride, I have no regrets and continue to build a business that supports my family and I for the future.

follow me on:

Leave a Comment: