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How to Make Your Website Mobile Friendly for Google’s April 21st Update

A recent post on the Google Webmaster Central blog stated the following:

Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.

I discuss this update and provide solutions for making your website mobile friendly.

Transcript

Hey guys, Calin Yablonski here from Local Academy. Today I’m going to be talking about how to make your website mobile friendly for Google. I’m going to provide you with tips for preparing your website for Google’s April 21st update.

If you haven’t heard, there was a post published on February 26th to Google Webmaster Central which is a blog maintained by engineers at Google and on the blog they had a section and I have it here on the screen that read, “Starting April 21st, we will be expanding our use of mobile friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

I’ve highlighted two sections here, the first is “as a ranking signal”. You may not be familiar but Google which is essentially a mathematical formula with servers that are just humming day in and day out has somewhere between 200 and 300 ranking signals, we think, and so whenever you hear that there’s going to be a new ranking signal integrated into the algorithm it really peaks up our interest as digital marketing consultants. From this snippet, what it sounds like is having your website be mobile friendly will have an impact on where it displays in Google search results.

What does this mean for your website? It’s time to go mobile or better yet, responsive. If you’re wondering, what the heck is the difference? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. A mobile website is a website which you access through an internet browser such as Safari, for example, and it’s designed for smaller handheld devices like iPhones, Android devices and Blackberries. Now if you have a mobile website, you commonly also have to have a desktop version of that website which is designed for the dimensions of a desktop browser. Now that’s what kind of makes mobile websites a bit goofy because essentially you have two completely separated websites with the exact same content. One is designed for mobile devices and the other for desktops.

If this sounds like it’s a bit of a headache, you’re right. That’s why some really smart people got together and came up with an elegant solution and that’s responsive website design. Responsive websites are built with a fluid layout that resizes to the dimensions of the device you’re viewing it from. This eliminates a lot of technical problems and reduces your maintenance costs because instead of maintaining multiple websites, you now only have one to worry about.

Now that you know the difference between a mobile website and a responsive website, what can you do about this upcoming algorithm update? The first solution is to find out if your website is mobile friendly. You may be surprised to learn that even if you have a mobile friendly website, it doesn’t abide by Google’s mobile friendly guidelines. Luckily, they’ve provided us with a great resource which allows you to test your website by simply inserted your URL and running a quick analysis. You can do that by visiting the address at the bottom of the page.

If you discover that your website has mobile issues, you’re not out of luck yet. You can still customize your web software to make it mobile friendly. Again, Google provides resource documents for several of the most popular website software in the world including WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Blogger, Tumblr and many, many more. The resource guides provides you with the step by step instructions that you need for making modifications to your website. To learn more about making these modifications, visit the address at the bottom of the screen and it will take you to that resource document where you can continue your learning.

Last but not least, you can modifications to your website by implementing mobile SEO best practices. This includes understanding how devices respond to forms of media, correctly configuring your website for responsive and mobile design, avoiding common mistakes and configuring your website for other devices such as tablets.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this quick video tutorial. If you do have any questions, please tweet me at calindaniel and don’t forget to visit us at www.localacademy.co for more great digital marketing tutorials for local business owners. Thanks again for listening. I’ll talk to you soon.

Calin is the founder and lead strategist at Inbound Interactive. He is responsible for the development and execution of Inbound's search marketing strategies.

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