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Create a Mobile-Friendly Site in 5 Steps

Website owners everywhere are beginning to feel like school children again after Google issued a wave of emails containing grades on their page's mobile usability. Many were alarmed to read that, '100% of [their pages] have critical mobile usability errors'. With such a low grade, it warns, not only will mobile users suffer in terms of navigation, but your Google ranking can take a hit, too. Read on to find out why the days of designing solely for desktop are over...

As a mobile or tablet user, few things are more irritating than trawling through unresponsive websites. They're clunky, difficult to navigate, and often require a lot of scrolling back and forth. Now, with so many users browsing the internet via mobile devices, this kind of rigid structure screams 'outdated'.

So, what does this email from Google mean, and why are you getting it now? In a nutshell, Google has decided to prioritise responsive websites over others which may lag behind. Mobile users don't want to be confronted with squashed, unreadable content, and with so many responsive alternatives now available, their tolerance for desktop-only websites is on the decline.

Don't think your site is up to speed? There's no need to panic; our five simple steps will guide you through the optimization process.

 

1. Determine Your Mobile-Friendliness

Get a subjective opinion on your site's responsiveness. There are a number of tools available to you, including Google's own Mobile-Friendly Test here. Google will scan your site and then provide you with a definitive answer. If your site fails the test, then it could be due to one or all of these issues:

  • Text is too small to readable
  • Links are too close together
  • Mobile viewport is not set

 

2. Establish a Mobile Solution

There are many mobile plans to choose from, but only one that is recommended by Google: implementing responsive web design. This means that the same website can adapt its pages to all devices, resulting in consistent content that is easily maintained in the longterm.Your other options include:

  • Dynamic serving (creating custom pages specifically for each device)
  • Redirecting to a separate site for mobile users
  • A mobile app

 

3. Follow These Optimization Rules

    • Avoid using Flash: Most mobile browsers do not recognise this software.
    • Give your links space: This makes them easier for users to tap without hitting something else.
  • Avoid text that requires users to zoom: This can be configured by setting your mobile viewport.

 

 

4. Avoid These Common Mistakes

    • Don't block JavaScript or CSS: These contribute to search engine rankings for both mobile and desktop.
    • Unplayable content is a no-no: For example, license-restricted content or content that requires FlashM
    • Don't pressurise users to download your mobile app: Don't be aggressive about it; this will drive users away – and not toward your app.
    • Check for irrelevant cross-links: These could redirect to desktop URLs which won't display neatly. Remember to check for hidden anchor links, too.
  • Check the speed of your page: Slow speeds will harm your mobile traffic.

 

 

5. Improve your Mobile Rankings

A mobile-friendly site does not automatically equal a Top 10 ranking in a mobile search engine. Your site still needs SEO optimization in order to push it upward. This involves a mixture of the following:

    • Mobile targeted keyword research – Keep keywords relevant to the mobile user's experience.
    • Include mobile URLs in your sitemap. Once this is done, submit the sitemap to Google.
  • Check organic rankings in search engine results page - Google isn't just the number one search engine for desktop – it applies for mobile devices, too. Since the vast majority of mobile searches are carried out on Google, checking the referrals from this search engine alone will be enough.

 

Now that you know the essentials, it's time to get started. For more information on responsiveness and how it can help your business, please contact Realise4.ie at 01 901 5544, or send an e-mail to info@realise4.ie.

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