Understanding Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test

April 6, 2015

As we’ve mentioned, Google has announced that on April 21st, it will be rolling out an algorithm update that uses mobile-friendliness as an important ranking factor..  The update means that sites that aren’t mobile-friendly may see a noticeable drop in mobile SERPs.  How significant the impact will be on any one site depends largely on how reliant that site is on mobile traffic, but even those sites that currently don’t  receive a lot of traffic from mobile searches would do well to consider upgrading to a mobile-friendly design in the near future.  Studies have shown that a large number of mobile users use their devices to research their buying decisions, and many go on to make a purchase after their research.  If you don’t currently get a lot of mobile traffic, having a mobile-friendly site could give you a much needed boost in mobile rankings, and could boost your bottom line.

To help websites prepare for the update, Google has released a mobile-friendly test that allows you to check whether your site meets Google’s mobile-friendly standards.  The Mobile-Friendly Test checks for various signals that indicate mobile friendliness.  The availability of a mobile viewport is an obvious signal, but there are other more subtle signals that get taken into consideration as well.  These include font size, link proximity, content width, and software requirements (such as Adobe Flash, or Shockwave) which are not broadly available across different mobile devices.

It’s important to note that the absence of any one of these mobile-friendly features will result in a “not mobile friendly” rating for your site, so even if your site is responsive, has clearly readable font, and does not require any special software to display properly, you could be flagged as being not mobile friendly if your links are located too closely together.  It’s important to evaluate your site carefully and address any – and all! – issues that are identified by Google’s checks.

Even if you’re not concerned about losing rankings, ensuring that your website is mobile friendly is a wise move.  If you’d like more information about the upcoming update or how to resolve any gaps in your site’s mobile-friendliness, give us a call.  We’ll be happy to analyze your site and make suggestions that can improve your site, not just for Google, but for your visitors as well.

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