Surviving Mobile-geddon

David Hamilton Quick Tips

Chicken Little has announced that the sky is falling for your website.  The big bad Google has changed up their algorithm yet again and if your site isn’t mobile friendly they’re going to divide up your business and sell it on the black market.

Not everything you hear about Google’s algorithm change is true.  Here’s a quick guide to the facts and a couple of solutions for your business.

Just the Facts, Ma’am

What Exactly is Happening?

On April 21st Google shifted their algorithm for how search engine results are calculated for mobile devices. If your site isn’t mobile friendly, it will be penalized in search engine results on mobile devices only.  This is most important for industries whose websites are often checked “on the go” like restaurants, hotels, and tourism sites who often get up to 75% of their traffic on mobile devices.

Is My Site Mobile Friendly?

There are a lot of tools out there to let you know if your site is mobile-friendly, but your best bet here is to take it right from the horse’s mouth and ask Google.  Google has released a webmaster tool to let you know if your site fits their mobile friendly standards. You can access that tool here.

How Do I Fix It?

If your site doesn’t rank well in mobile-friendliness, there are a couple solutions.

1) Build CSS for Mobile Using Media Queries

If your site is a standard site built with html and styled with cascading style sheets, you can become mobile friendly by creating a new style sheet specifically for mobile and adding a media query to your head tag.  Here’s a nice little tutorial to show you how it’s done.   You’ll also want to integrate a mobile-friendly menu bar.  For most small or medium businesses this will take your web designer about two days work – if the site was well designed from the beginning.

2) Rebuild Your Site in a Responsive Platform

If your site just wasn’t meant to be responsive, maybe you should look at a rebuild.  Our favorite responsive platform is WordPress.  It powers around a quarter of the sites on the internet, is highly flexible, and most good WordPress frameworks are fully mobile responsive. Think WordPress is for beginners or that all WordPress sites look the same? Check out our blog about this. The 5 Most Common WordPress Misconceptions.

What to Avoid

Platforms like Wix often offer to build you a separate mobile site.  If you’re a small business this is one rabbit hole that you don’t want to disappear into. Separate mobile sites run the risk of dividing up valuable resources like incoming links, and all too often one of the site versions will lag behind on updates.  You want to make sure that when someone visits your site, they’re getting the latest content.  Don’t divide up your time and resources maintaining two sites. One good mobile responsive website will pool all your resources and make sure that your clients get a high quality experience every time they visit.