What is a Mobile Friendly Site?
In it’s purest definition a mobile friendly site is one that is easy to navigate, read and view the information for each website page without the need to zoom in and zoom out, regardless of the mobile device screen size. It also must be quick to load, no one has the patience to wait for a few minutes while your page downloads over cellular.
Nearly half of all visitors will leave a mobile site if the pages don’t load within 3 seconds
What is Google Looking For in a Mobile Site?
So with the definition out of the way what components make a website SEO friendly and what exactly is Google looking at.
- The website design needs to either be built in Responsive code or you need to have a mobile dedicated version of your website. In today’s design world most are opting for responsive designs it’s easier to maintain one site, then two. And responsive design has come a long way in the last 2 years. Responsive, just means it responds to the visitor’s screen size and adapts the width and elements on the page accordingly so it’s readable whether you are on a 34″ wide screen on a desktop computer or a Samsung Galaxy S7 or an iPad the site will adjust all the content so it displays in a whay in which it can be read and interacted with easily.
- The site needs to load quickly. Now this is a multi-part issue. There are a few things that can effect your website speed.
- The code itself could be slow
- The code to call to outside files it needs like using Google Fonts or if your site uses plugins and those could be slow to respond
- The server could be slow
- The content could contain a lot of images or graphics that take longer to download
Assessment Tools Available
Google also offer a great tool to assess your site which you can find here. It works with your Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools) account which can also give you insight into any mobile friendly issues your site might have.
Think with Google from PageSpeed Insights is another great tool that goes into very good detail about where your site might fall short in being Mobile Friendly. You can find that tool here.
Why is being Mobile Friendly important for SEO
Google started the mobile trend in 2015 when it ran it’s first “mobilegeddon” update. The update and subsequent further updates surrounding mobile friendliness meant that rankings in Google when searched from a mobile device were different than when searched from a desktop. On a mobile device Google gave preference to sites that were deemed mobile friendly meeting their criteria. They also started to like AMP coding, which hasn’t caught on very well with business owners and designers as it does deliver the content very quickly and cleaning on mobile devices it also strips out all marketing elements. There are no photos, graphics or calls to action making it hard to really display or market your services or products well when you can’t have anything overly visual. It’s a repeat of what Google did back in 2007/8 when they rewarded sites for having clean code, except clean code meant no slideshows or flash elements (back when Flash was popular), no videos and that never quite took off either. So Google abandoned that line of thinking. In the end you need to find a balance between a great site that will engage and convert your visitors but is also fast and fast on a mobile.
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If you are a Toronto business owner and not sure if your site meets Google’s standards of mobile Friendliness, why not ask for our free SEO analysis. It’s Free! And we don’t hound you afterwards! What do you have to lose?