Google changed their search engine algorithm to favor mobile friendly websites. But don’t let a web developer or SEO vendor sell you a bill of goods as a solution. Here’s what you need to know.
Google announced this algorithm change early – a few months ago – letting website owners know that they would begin to favor mobile friendly websites in the search results starting on April 21. Apparently the pre-announcement was unusual. There are usually speculations about algorithm changes, but rarely a firm statement form Google. I think this was fair warning that site owners needed to take action.
If you haven’t made your website mobile friendly, don’t panic. There are a few options, and the solution doesn’t have to be a huge project.
Mobile-friendly means that your website program recognizes what device a site visitor is using when they land on your page and adapts the page to fit the device. Some of the qualities Google is looking for are larger fonts, enough space between action buttons or links (such as submit or menu options) so you can easily navigate the site and take certain actions as you go.
There are several solutions for handling mobilegeddon.
1. Get a responsive web site design.
Your web developer can change your site to recognize the device a visitor is using and adjust the display accordingly. This is Google’s recommended solution.
If you use a technology platform like WordPress, you are in luck. Your developer can just change to a responsive template. Of course, if you have customizations that have to be re-applied, the update can be a little more involved. But, for the most part, a template update on WordPress is a matter of changing the template and checking all pages and features to make sure that everything works and displays properly.
2. Use a utility that builds a mobile version of your site.
Some reviews of these utilities exist online, and I almost provided a link to one. But, it was unclear to me if the “review” was a paid advertisement served up under the guise of a third-party review, so I did not include the link. I have used one of these utilities, but I have to caution you – it was not that intuitive for a non-programmer and is not the best solution. Mobile site builder utilities may be a faster, cost-effective fix, but buyer beware – do your research.
3. Program a custom version of the site.
This solution is probably best for consumer companies with huge budgets. This solution means that for every change to your website, you need to update the mobile version as well. It’s not a solution for everyone, but if done right it can probably yield the best results because every feature can be customized for mobile.
Do you need help updating your website to be mobile-friendly? More effective? Contact New Incite today. We’ve created, updated or analyzed hundreds of website since 1998 to help our clients get better marketing results.
Photo on Flickr by Ben Salter. Some Rights Reserved.