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Google’s Mobile Friendly changes

The facts about Google’s search engine changes effective from 21st April.

Google has stated that “Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. “

What classes as “mobile-friendly” is specific to Google’s expectations of a mobile website:

1. Whether the web page is wider than the mobile screen in both landscape and portrait (ie does it fit?)
2. Is the text large enough to be read on a mobile without zooming
3. Are the links far enough apart to be clickable on a mobile
4. Is the viewport set

Let’s explain each point.

1. Page Width

This is a tricky one as different devices will behave slightly differently and your mobile site – if you already have one – needs to be tested on all platforms to ensure it works correctly. Essentially, the mobile site needs to open cleanly no matter what the orientation (portrait or landscape) and sit on the screen without scrolling.

2. Text size

The text needs to be at least 18px according to Google – whereas Apple recommends 17px and many mobile website themes are only 16px. If you don’t have a mobile specific design, chances are your text is around 14px. If your mobile site was designed by a Mac user, you need to check that the design is at least 18px.

3. Link spacing

If you have a mobile specific design, chances are your links will be fine. If your website is ‘mobile friendly’ but not ‘mobile specific’ then your links may be too small to be used on a mobile.

4. Viewport setting

The viewport setting is a small piece of code that Google has set as a requirement. Many mobile designs do not have this setting and therefore could lose Google rankings. This is a big issue as this one piece of code, which many users will not be aware of and many businesses will not know how to implement could be a major stumbling block.

So how can you turn all this to your advantage?

On 21st April, people with Google mobile compatible websites will start to be ranked higher in searches. With some small changes, there is a chance that you can beat your competition who might be lagging behind a bit. By optimising your site for mobile searches you could get ahead of the game and improve your rankings very quickly.

Test your website at Google’s testing page here.

And if you need some help, we offer a free 30 minute telephone consultation as well as Google compatible mobile sites for a one off £47.

Just contact us via our contact page using the code GOO21APR