On April 21st 2015 the world’s most popular search engine updated its search algorithm to favour sites that are mobile-friendly. Those that aren’t will be left behind, fighting for their search results. If you’re responsible for a site or the management of online content that isn’t optimised for mobile use, fear not; this post is designed to equip you with the essential skills and tools you need to survive Mobilegeddon.
On 26th February 2015 Google announced that they would be implementing changes to their search algorithm that would make it “easier for users to find mobile-friendly web pages.”
Essentially Google want to provide their users with the best experience possible. Sites lacking the correct formatting and text for mobile devices will no longer be deemed valuable, and so their search rankings will plummet.
This calls for SEOs and Content Marketers to carry out an urgent review of their sites. Those with standard text and unresponsive elements just aren’t going to cut it anymore.
60% of online traffic now comes from mobile devices. Google have followed the consumer trend and changed their focus from stationary computers and laptops, to the mobile computer in our hands.
According to Google “This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimised for their devices.”
Google will rank high quality sites with valuable, responsive content. So it’s vital to update your site and online content to remain competitive.
Just because your site can been viewed on a mobile doesn’t mean it’s as effective as it could be. Optimise the potential that’s sitting in your customer’s palm.
A poor mobile site will have an impact on your bottom line. Create the best user experience possible and you will soon see the associated benefits.
There are multiple options to choose from when optimising your site. But before you go ahead and take the plunge, stop to consider how this will affect your content. So which is better, why?
Let’s look at the available design options:
One of the most popular methods to make content mobile-friendly is to make sites responsive. This design method provides users with a seamless user experience by changing its format according to the device it is being accessed from.
Using a responsive content management system means that you can keep on top of any changes, ensure your content is fully optimised.
There are two options available, you can download a CMS like WordPress.org or Joolma, or alternately you might want to go for a hosted service for example WordPress.com or Squarespace.
If you haven’t got the capacity to optimise your existing site then a fully-hosted site might work for you. Fully-hosted mobile sites provide the same functionality as their desktop-based counterparts. There’s no lengthy installation process to go through. It’s simply a case of uploading the application.
However, it’s worth noting that any content you create and upload to your desktop site will also need to be replicated on your mobile site.
Due to the ease of use and quality of the outcome, responsive design comes up trumps again and again.
There’s no need to panic if you haven’t optimised your content for mobile. Take Google’s Mobile Friendly Test to establish how your site is performing in its current state.
The test analyses the URL and produces an instant report detailing how mobile-friendly your site is, and what, if any, changes need to be made.
Keep your audience in mind at all times. Before completing the advised improvements consider, ‘Are they the type to be on mobile devices?’
Got your content up to scratch, but wish your site was quicker? Google’s Page Speed Insight works hard to retrieve information on ways to make your pages fast on all devices.
In a post-Mobilegeddon world making your content mobile-friendly is vital. All content needs to be optimised.
Picture this. You go to your favourite website on your mobile. It’s slow, unresponsive and you have to double-tap the screen to see the content in all its glory. Chances are that you’re not going to make an effort to pay them a visit again.
You only have a few seconds to grab someone’s attention so make it worthwhile. Ensure that changes to your content won’t negatively affect its functionality.
Here’s our top tips to get your content up to speed:
Additional points to keep in mind:
Whilst there are some fantastic examples of brands that have fully embraced the mobile-friendly update, there are others that have shied away from it.
Google Maps – The site’s responsive user interface works on all devices. It’s easily optimised by touch and boasts a reliable load speed.
Amazon – The online retailer has undoubtedly played a big part in the evolution of the online shopping experience. Amazon have created a mobile version of their site, with the user at the heart of it.
Buzzfeed – Online quizzes and numbered lists have become synonymous with the brand. Their bite size news stories and interactive content are perfect for today’s hectic lifestyle so it’s no surprise that they have made their content mobile-friendly.
Twitter – Unfortunately Twitter seem more focused on you downloading their app than making a mobile-friendly version of their site. The mobile version of Twitter is clunky and visually uninteresting.
Stumbleupon – You can’t continue to the site until you actively close the ad for the Stumbleupon app which isn’t an example of great UI.
The nature of Stumbleupon is that it includes content from multiple sources. But this is its downfall when you’re viewing the site on a mobile device. The design isn’t consistent, content doesn’t fit the screen, the load time is tiresome and you can’t zoom in or out.
Next – The leading retailer are normally ahead of the trend but that isn’t the case with their mobile site. It doesn’t automatically detect if you’re on a mobile device so you’re taken to the full site on a smaller screen, meaning the majority of the buttons aren’t clickable.
You have to actively search for the mobile version to use it and when you do it’s basic and awkward to navigate.
Let me know your thoughts on mobile content. Do you have any good or bad examples to share? Leave a comment below or tweet me @ruthawalker.
For more tips on surviving Mobilegeddon get in touch today.
IT should be noted that Google would prefer Responsive Designs.
There are benefits for a single … or negatives for 2 URLs.
If you run 2 sites – Mobile and Desktop – you may well be splitting links between the two. You would have to deploy the Canonical Link Element to fix this, which would lead to a small loss (about 15%) of the links value.
I think this is a well written piece that is very relevant and timely. As a digital creative myself, I’m actually very surprised how many people did not have a sufficient mobile solution in place before Google insisted they needed one.
Surely if people had been doing proper and diligent UX and giving their users what they required from their websites, the update news from Google shouldn’t have caused as much as a ripple.
I think there’s a lesson to be learned here about best practises and implementing them before they become quasi mandatory requirements.
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