Make your website mobile friendly now

Switching your website to a more responsive web design is now the key to keeping and raising your SEO ranking. On April 21, 2015 Google will be launching the new parameters for their search algorithm. This change will expand upon mobile friendly labeling it implemented in 2014. Having a site that meets Google’s new standards for ranking will increase you website visibility and ranking when searches are run on mobile devices. This includes having an app that is indexed with Google’s App Indexing.

responsivewebdesignMobile devices searches will now yield relevant results ranked by the sites usability on smartphones, tablets and other devices frequently used by the masses. The inclusion of apps in the search will also result in higher rankings for those websites that have an app that is a participant in Google’s App Indexing. Those results, however, will only be shown to users that are signed in to Google’s platform, mostly the Android population. Google’s goal is to make pertinent information surface more readily for mobile device users, as the use of these devices has become far more prominent and will continue to increase as time goes on.

Websites should be sure that their content can be easily viewed on smartphones and the like without the use of zooming. The practical use of distance for easy tapping on links is also important for GoogleBot to detect a mobile friendly site. Another rule of thumb of thumb is to avoid the use of software that is infrequently applied in mobile devices, such as Flash, will also increase the mobile friendliness of the site. These changes are most easily made by the use of responsive designs that make use of CSS3 queries to stipulate what rules apply according to the browser being used. Some websites may choose to go another route and use Device-Specific HTML to make their sites more compatible with devices and smartphones. If the webmaster decides to go in this direction then they should be certain to adhere to the guidelines Google has specified. For example a website utilizing one URL with different HTML for mobile device pages should use the HTTP Vary Header in order to enable GoogleBot-Smartphone to crawl their site. Full guidelines can be found on Google’s developer site.

These changes will have website owners seeking out the advice of SEO experts and likely contracting SEO professionals to ensure their sites are as responsive as possible. If webmasters decide to employ such individuals they should be confident in the individual’s ability to create SEO content that is properly reactive to all types of mobile devices and will not get the site penalized for bad practices. Another thing to keep in mind is to avoid common mistakes such as listing irrelevant cross-links, having faulty redirects and slow loading pages.

Google has given webmasters some time to optimize their sites for the new search algorithm parameters. But that time is slowly slipping by. It will be interesting to see how this will all play out. Time to Optimize!

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