Having a responsive or mobile-friendly website has just recently become more important than ever. Google has officially announced that starting April 21 they will be including the mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. We have been saying for a while now that a responsive website is crucial to a positive user experience and ensuring a user does not “bounce” due to your website not displaying correctly on a mobile device. A responsive website will now be required if you would like to rank highly among your competitors.
It was only a matter of time until mobile friendly websites became a key factor in search engine ranking. As more and more people transition to smart phones and tablets for their everyday needs, Google needed to ensure that these users get the best search results possible (that’s their job after all!).
The new update has already made tremendous waves throughout the web even before it’s release. So much so that webmasters are scrambling to ensure their sites meet Google’s guidelines before the update goes into effect. Many reputable search engine experts are claiming that this update will have an even larger impact than the previous two updates of Panda and Penguin.
Is your site mobile-friendly?
So what does a mobile-friendly website consist of? We’re glad you asked! Thankfully, Google has publicly announced what factors will be taken into consideration when ranking a website. The three following elements are the most important items to take into consideration when designing or updating your website to meet mobile-friendly standards.
1. Ensure your website is responsive and elements fit the viewport.
This may seem obvious but having a responsive website ensures your content fits properly within a users viewport whether they are using a 27inch computer monitor or an iPhone 6. If your site does not properly adapt to different screen dimensions, it will be ranked lower than those that do. For more information on responsive web design visit developers.google.com
2. Properly space touch elements.
Nothing is more annoying than trying to click one link only to unintentionally click another that is located right next to it. Google wants to ensure that websites are rewarded for properly spacing touch elements. Sizing tap targets appropriately ensures users can quickly and easily navigate your website. It is recommended that the targets be at least “48 CSS pixels tall/wide”, Google’s in depth recommendations can be found here.
3. Font size
You need to ensure your fonts and font sizes can be read easily by visitors on all devices. Make sure users of smartphones and tablets can read the content on your website on smaller viewing surfaces. To do this, simply ensure your font size is large enough and provides enough contrast with background colors. Google recommends a minimum base font size of 16 CSS pixels, check this page out for further details.
Test your website.
Now to ensure you are meeting these requirements, Google has developed a Mobile-Friendly Test. Simply plug in your URL to see which guidelines you are meeting and which ones you might need to improve. Google has also provided a complete Mobile Guide to help you ensure your website is ready for the upcoming search engine algorithm changes. This information can also be found through your Google Webmaster Tools account.
So now that you know about Google’s upcoming changes and what is required for mobile-friendly design, all that’s left is to simply implement the guidelines on your own website. Easier said than done right!? We hope that with the information provided in this blog you can start off on the right foot. Of course if you would like Crux Creative’s help updating your site to meet the new standards or perhaps creating a brand new site altogether please view our website services and feel free to contact us today.