On April 21st, Google expanded its use of mobile-friendliness as a factor in mobile search results. What does this mean? If your site is NOT mobile friendly, you're going to see a significant negative impact on your site's page ranking for mobile. While it doesn't appear that the new Google ranking factors will directly affect desktop site ranking, with mobile usage accounting for 60% of digital media consumption in the U.S., this is a change you've got to pay attention to.
In addition to publishing a new guide to mobile-friendly websites, Google has introduced the Mobile-Friendly Test and the Mobile Usability Report to help you evaluate your site's readiness. For the moment, mobile-friendliness is a binary quality: your page either is or isn't, and the Mobile-Friendly Test will tell you which. For more information about relevant usability factors including layout, content and speed, the Mobile Usability Report can help you parse and prioritize issues for your site.
So what happens if you discover that your site isn't mobile-friendly? How can you mitigate? First off, it's important to remember that moving to a responsive design does not always involve a major redo. The initial step is to get estimates for alternative approaches, some considering a new design and navigation and others that are more tactical and contemplate modifications to your current pages rather than a complete overhaul.
Any mobile development you undertake should consider the following factors:
- Discovery: Delineate your business goals and your users' needs, and understand your current mobile performance so there's a clear baseline against which to measure and optimize.
- Design: Design responsively for mobile first, including figuring out your grid, the number of layouts to support, the overall look and feel, and interactive design.
- Development: Select the right responsive framework, customize and integrate it for your needs and develop all the responsive templates.
- Delivery: Implement several levels of testing, instrument your site with the right tools, and launch your site in production.
- Optimization: Measure the performance of your site in a real-world environment and evaluate your options for optimization of focus and content.
As a leading implementer of responsive sites, Third & Grove has had the opportunity to work with big operations like Intuit and Williams-Sonoma on migrations as well as startups building sites from the ground up. If you’ve got questions about how to adapt your site to these new Google mobile friendly changes, just call us for a 1-hour Responsive Assessment. We’ll do some research on your web site and happily share our thoughts regarding scope, effort and alternatives.