We’re less than a week away from Google’s April 21st date to have our sites mobile-friendly. Hopefully, by now, your site already passes Google’s test, you’re implementing a plan to meet the deadline, or you have come to the conclusion that you’ll be okay if your website is not returned in the SERPs (search engine result pages) that are performed from mobile devices. The decision is individual. What we don’t want to do is make rash decisions that could derail our overall business strategy. We need to take a common sense approach to this and not fall prey to the #Mobilegeddon hysteria.
So, what is the “Mobilegeddon” hysteria? It’s due in part to misunderstanding what will happen when this new ranking signal is rolled out. It’s also due in part to businesses that are attempting to take advantage of people who don’t have mobile friendly sites.
For example, Mark Traphagen, (who works at StoneTempleConsulting.com and I’m a huge fan of) recently tweeted this:
That tweet was obviously intended to drive customers to their service by inducing fear. When in fact, Google will not “demote or delist you from their search results if you don’t have a mobile friendly site by April 21st”. To read a more balanced view of what actually will happen, read Mark Traphagen’s Google+ discussion in which he shares insight from Ashley Berman Hale.
Another example of someone trying to drive business by preying on the fears of website owners is this unsolicited email that I received from someone on LinkedIn. He alerted me to the fact that my site failed Google’s mobile friendly test (no news to me) and offered to upgrade my site to a “beautiful, Google-approved mobile layout within 2 weeks for $2,999.”
Richard (who is no longer a LinkedIn connection of mine) was obviously trying to take advantage of his connections by openly soliciting those of us who may be vulnerable to this sort of tactic. Seriously? Three thousand dollars for a website within 2 weeks? There are so many trusted website designers (like Leora Wenger who offers much more reasonable solutions to make your website mobile friendly).
Common Mistakes That Make your Website Mobile Un-Friendly
What could the root problem be that is making your website fail Google’s mobile friendly test? What if your site does pass the test? Are there still issues that would cause issues with your website?
Google has documented the 5 most common mistakes that prevent websites from being mobile- friendly. They identify them as being:
- Unplayable Content:Media players such as Flash are not supported on many mobile devices. Rather than use a proprietary video player, consider using HTML5 animations or having a transcript available.
- Faulty Redirects: This only affects you if you are redirecting visitors to separate mobile URLs.
- Mobile-Only 404s: If you have Google Webmaster Tools set up and have these errors, you should receive an email notification from Google.
- App Download Interstitials: Interstitials interrupt the normal flow that a website visitor expects. (For example, a prompt to install something.)
- Irrelevant Crosslinks: This only affects you if you are redirecting visitors to separate mobile URLs.
- Slow Mobile pages: You can determine if site speed is an issue by using Google PageSpeed Insights.
To get my site to pass Google’s mobile-friendly test, I installed the WPtouch Mobile plugin. I had done this months ago but the results were sporadic. (It would pass and look great and then I would check it on my phone or re-test it on Google, and it would fail.)
I did need to make one final tweak to fix caching issues with the WPtouch Mobile plugin. (Thanks to Adrienne Smith for alerting me to that issue.)
Additional Friday Finds Resources:
Here are this week’s #FridayFinds to help you sort through some of the latest news on Google’s efforts to make the Internet more mobile friendly.
- 3 Ways to Force Google to Reindex Pages for Mobile-Friendly Tags by Jennifer Slegg
- The Advanced SEO’s Guide To Mobilegeddon by Bryson Meunier
- Everything You Need To Know About Google’s New Stance On Mobile by Neil Patel
- 9 Things You Need to Know About Google’s Mobile-Friendly Update by Cindy Krum
- Will Your App Promotion Interstitial Put Your Mobile SEO At Risk? by Mark Munroe
- MOBILEGEDDON: What it Means for the Mobile Marketplace + 5 Ways to Avoid the Wrath of Google by Millenial Agency
- Google: You Should Not Have A Mobile Sitemap by Barry Schwartz
- Google Launches New Search Interface For Slower Mobile Connections by Barry Schwartz
Over to You:
What are your thoughts? Will you be paying more attention to how your site is appearing in the search results? Do you have plans to make more changes to your website this year? Did you receive any unsolicited emails from individuals trying to capitalize on #mobilegeddon? We’d love to hear from you.