Yesterday, Google made a significant tweak to how it ranks websites. Simply put, if your website is not mobile friendly, chances are it’s getting pushed further and further down on the search results list. Here’s what you should know and how you can ensure you’re not a victim of the latest changes.

Mobile first, desktop second (or third!)

An increasing percentage of searches now originate from mobile devices. In fact, many now say the number is over 50%. Google, of course, recognizes this and has started favoring mobile-friendly sites in its search rankings.

It makes sense.

When you do a search on your smartphone, would you rather see a website that’s designed to work beautifully on your device or one that hasn’t been updated in years and requires pinching, zooming and other finger acrobatics to make it work?

Google likes mobile-friendly websites best - 1Respond with “responsive” design

Every website these days needs to be “responsive”. That’s the term we use in the industry to describe how the content on the screen adapts (aka “responds”) to fit the screen on which it’s being displayed – no matter how big or small.

Let’s use our Forge3 site as an example. If you’re reading this on your mobile device (and most of you are!), you’ll see that it works perfectly. The menu at the top collapses behind a “hamburger” menu (yes, that’s what they call it) and all of the graphics and text fit on the screen. No pinching and zooming required.

On the other hand, when you’re on your big desktop computer, you’ll see the full menu, expanded graphics and multi-column layout and text. It’s just works.

In other words, the website “responds” to fit the visitor. Not the other way around.

It’s time to adapt

Is it possible to make your current website mobile friendly? Technically, yes. However, based on our experience, it’s usually better to take a fresh approach so that everything is clean, simple and effective – both technically and for today’s savvy website visitors.

Retrofitting “responsive” design to your non-responsive website is like changing the foundation of your house. Possible, sure. A good idea, probably not.

However, the good news is that we have some great options. There are some incredibly powerful WordPress theme frameworks and other tools available to streamline your venture into the mobile-friendly future. In fact, you can learn a bit more on our Website Services page.

By the way, if you’re not sure if your website is mobile friendly or not, use this tool from Google:

https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

Author Jeff Teschke

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