Mobile compatibility and search engine optimization Recently, Google announced mobile compatibility as factor in their search ranking algorithm. Websites that are mobile friendly will be “tagged” as such (see the image to the right). Google has also said, “We are also experimenting with using the mobile-friendly criteria as a ranking signal.” That simple statement is a big deal for website owners in the long term.

What Does this Mean for My Site?

At this point, not too much. Google exhaustively tests all of its changes, so it is unlikely that mobile compatibility will be a major ranking factor anytime soon. However, expect mobile compatibility to slowly become more and more of a factor in a website’s search engine rankings. If your website isn’t mobile compatible yet, rectifying that should be a high priority in the very near future. Websites that take advantage of all of the little tricks can beat out larger sites in the search engines, so don’t ever dismiss a SEO trick, no matter how small. Making sure your website is mobile compatible could just barely edge out your opponent taking you from the second page to the first page, or from slot one to slot three. And in search engine rankings, those small ranking jumps make a big difference for incoming search engine traffic.

SEO tricks aside, mobile browsing is still on the rise and in this day and age, all websites should be mobile compatible. Mobile compatibility does wonders for a website’s conversion rate.

Checking Responsive Websites

How Do I Check My Site Against Google’s Bot?

Google is an amazing company and has provided website owners with a Mobile-Friendly Test tool. Simply enter your website’s URL into the bar and it’ll say whether your website is compatible or not.

Google looks for a few factors when checking to see if a website is mobile compatible. To quote Google itself, they look for websites that meet the following criteria:

  • Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
  • Uses text that is readable without zooming
  • Sizes content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
  • Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped

Meet these criteria and you’ll receive an inherent SEO benefit just for being mobile compatible.

My Website isn’t Mobile Compatible, What do I do?

This is a little bit of a tricky question to answer due to how many factors there are in mobile compatibility. Thankfully, Google has a few resources to get website owners moving in the right direction. First check out Google’s Webmasters Mobile Guide. It has a bunch of tips and resources, and you don’t need to be a web developer to understand everything. Next, Google Webmaster tools has some usefull tools for ensuring mobile compatibility.

If that isn’t enough, you may need to consider redesigning your website, especially if it’s an older website. We’d be happy to help you out with this, so give us a shout and we’d be happy to talk.

Update:

On February 26th, 2015, Google announced that they will be putting more of an emphesis on mobile compatibility starting April 21, 2015. Having a mobile compatible website is becoming more and more important for your search engine rankings.

Update 2:

Responsive websites now receive a boost in search engine rankings. Make sure your websites are designed to be mobile compatible!