Mobile use is on the rise – according to Google search reports, mobile queries grew by 50% in certain industries and desktop queries declined by 4% in Q1 2015 year over year. In April 2015 Google rolled out a big search engine update that affects mobile-unfriendly websites. Now, if you or your client’s website doesn’t look mobile-friendly from Google’s perspective, it might go down in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) a lot or not show up at all.

Here are a few criteria Google judges the mobile sites against:

  1. Responsive content – If your text or graphics don’t fit a mobile device screen automatically, or text is too small to read on a smaller screen, it’s an automatic fail
  2. Usability – If your links or other touchable elements are too crowded and people can’t click on something they want to, it’s a fail
  3. Loading time – Mobile internet connections are slower than desktop ones and data traffic is more expensive. If it takes too long for the site to load on a mobile device or content is too heavy, it will also automatically fail the website criteria set by Google
  4. Technical Issues – If the mobile version of your website is hidden from non-mobile devices (via robots.txt settings), Google would not even be able to access it for an assessment and might automatically exclude it from the search results

Example of a mobile-unfriendly website:

mobile optimized website

Here’s an example of one of our clients, UnitedHealth Group, who has a mobile-friendly career site. All job postings are mobile friendly and candidates can also apply using their mobile device. It’s important to not only look mobile-friendly but also provide a great user experience after landing customers on your website.

Example of a mobile optimized website:

mobile optimized website

Here are a few insights on how you can develop a mobile optimized website:

  • Great use of all possible mobile actions – phone numbers that can be clicked on to initiate a call; addresses with a map plug-in for immediate directions; contact details, like e-mails, that could be sent directly from the device via its mailing app
  • Easy and simple “thumb-friendly” navigation items throughout the website
  • Light use of text and pictures which allows the website to load quickly on a slow mobile connection and to decrease data charges
  • Very clear and easy-to-follow conversion path with no unnecessary elements on the way (e.g. too many graphic elements or complex forms)
  • Easily rotated/resized elements so the website will look the same even if the screen resolution changes
  • Light use of type-in forms (unless absolutely necessary e.g. in job applications, or in a check-out process)
  • Option to view a desktop version of the website

Are all of your clients ready to be ranked by the new Google mobile search algorithm?