Why your website really needs to be mobile friendly

I’ve told you in the past about how people are using mobile devices more and more for viewing websites.

Indeed, statistics are now showing that mobile usage has overtaken that of desktop and laptop. If you’ve tried to actually use a website which is not mobile-friendly on a mobile, you’ll know for yourself how frustrating it can be, having to pinch, zoom and move around pages to read content. You might find it all too much and give up on the website, and move on to another.

On the other hand, mobile-friendly websites offer a far better experience for users. Content is readable and navigating is far easier. Being mobile-friendly is now vital for any website, and whether you’re getting a revamp for an existing site or investing in your very first one, make sure that it is mobile-friendly.

There’s another very important reason for having a mobile-friendly website: Google announced that as from April of this year web pages that are mobile-friendly will be ranked higher on mobile searches.

So if two web pages have exactly the same content, but one of them is mobile-friendly, it will appear higher in searches made on mobile devices than the other non-mobile-friendly page. Points to note here: this only affects searches that are made on mobile devices, and it is applied on a page-by-page basis, not across entire websites.

Now this does not automatically mean that if your website is mobile-friendly it will spring to number one in mobile search results. Far from it. Google uses a whole range of what it calls ‘signals’ to sort out how search results are ranked, and being mobile-friendly is just one of them. If a non-mobile-friendly site has highly-relevant, quality content for a given search phrase, it will still perform better on mobile search results than a mobile-friendly site with mediocre content.

How can you tell if your website is mobile-friendly? Google has helpfully provided a simple tool – just go to Google and search for “Google mobile friendly test” and it should be top of the list. Enter the website address for any web page and click “Analyze” and, after a bit of number crunching, you’ll be told if it is mobile-friendly or not. If it’s not you’ll be given some pointers as to the issues Google encountered with it.

z Andrew McEwan of And We Do This in Morebattle (www.andwedothis.com) helps businesses in the Borders and beyond with their online presence and digital marketing.