The clock is ticking. You have until April 21st, 2015 to make sure that your blog or website is mobile friendly. If your website is not mobile-friendly or mobile responsive after that time, you may be cutting your own throat (figuratively speaking). Let me explain.
Mobile Friendliness – A New Ranking Factor
A few days ago Google announced that they are going to use mobile friendliness as a ranking factor in their algorithms. They hope to implement the changes by April 21st, 2015. Unlike with other ranking algorithms, Google was kind enough to warn website owners about this upcoming major change, to give webmasters a chance to implement mobile friendliness on their sites.
This new algorithm is going affect smartphone searches. At the present time, when searches come from smartphones, the search results are shown in SERPs (search engine results pages) much like when searches come from desktops.
The problem is, that until now smartphone searches also included pages that were not mobile friendly. For a smartphone user such results are frustrating and a complete waste of time.
According to Google, they are seeing that when smartphone users are unhappy with non-mobile search results
- 61% of users are unlikely to return to mobile site if they have a problem with it
- 40% said they’d visit a competitor mobile site instead
John Mueller, the Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, at the Office Hours hangout, gave a short summary of the new algorithm and explained how smartphone searches are going to be handled from now on (see video below).
John Mueller On Mobile Friendliness
Questions from the audience and the corresponding answers from John Mueller at this most recent Office Hours hangout clearly summarizes what we might expect:
Question from the audience: What are the suggestions Google could give if site is not mobile friendly
Answer by John Mueller: If you don’t care about smartphone users and you are really certain that nobody is ever going to try to use your site on a smartphone, if you don’t care if people don’t find you on a smartphone (then it is OK). You are not going to be visible in search (mobile).
If you care about smartphone users and you see that people go to your site with a smartphone and they tend not to come back then it is usually a sign that they are unhappy with what they found on your website.
Even if you think at the moment that having a mobile friendly site is not worth your time, in the long run more and more people are going to be using smartphones and definitely it will make sense to jump on that…
Question: Are you going to remove the mobile unfriendly pages from the mobile search.
Answer: John Mueller, said that they are not going to remove sites, but that “they are going to try and kind of boost the mobile friendly sites…“
As you can see the answer is quite simple:
If your website or a blog is not mobile friendly, your pages will simply not be shown in mobile searches.
Is Your Blog Mobile Friendly – Find Out
Most WordPress blog users have been fortunate as the theme developers have been keeping up with these changing times and many themes are mobile responsive or mobile friendly. But even now, as I visit different blogs, I am finding that some are not mobile responsive at all.
To find out if your blog meets Google’s requirements of mobile friendliness, you can test your site on their mobile-friendly test site here…
Having tested your site and passing the test is great, but I also wanted to see how Blogging Spree looked on different mobile devices, including smartphones.
I was glad I did, as I discovered that my blog, did not display very well, because I had added a customized header to my site and the header was not responsive. I had to change the header to a logo and my site looks good on all the mobile devices I tested.
If you want to see how your blog looks on different mobile devices go to MobileTest.me. There, you can test your site on 6 different mobile devices.
If your blog is not mobile friendly, as a WordPress blogger you have a couple of options:
- Install a WordPress plugin to make your blog mobile friendly
- Change your WordPress theme to a mobile responsive theme
In summary, I will only repeat what I said in the opening paragraph. Test to see if your blog is user friendly. If it is not, do whatever it takes to make it mobile-friendly. If you don’t make your blog or a website mobile friendly, instead of moving forward, you will be taking one giant step to extinction.
Now it is your turn. Is your blog mobile friendly. How did your blog do in the mobile friendliness test? Please let me know in the comments…