As a member of a web agency, it is rare that I receive panic FROM a client. Normally, we are the ones identifying risks and resolving them.
This all changed after Google made an announcement; as of April 21, 2015, the appearance of your website on a search results page would be far more dramatically affected by its mobile presence. In short, if your website is built with mobile use in mind or is “mobile-friendly”, you are in the clear. If not, your site may not display in search results where it once did.
Needless to say, our inboxes erupted with client emails.
No worries. Find out if your website is mobile-friendly and what can be done to make it mobile-friendly if it is not.
- What happened with the Google Update?
- Test your website to see if it is mobile-friendly
- Actions to take if it is not mobile-friendly
What happened with the Google update?
Effective April 21, 2015, your website is going under more scrutiny from Google’s mighty magnifying glass. Google has algorithms in place to detect what websites are mobile-friendly.
It is important to note that this will not affect search results on a desktop, only on mobile devices. If your WordPress website is “Mobile-Friendly“, a gray message will display next to your meta-description on a Google search. Again, this will ONLY display on mobile devices.
If your Google Analytics show that your business is mostly found and used on desktops, this will not affect your search rankings as much. There will be less impact in this case.
Additionally, if you have a web app that is indexed in Google search engines, this will also apply to the search algorithm.
Check if your site is mobile-friendly
Thankfully, Google has you covered with a landing page to test if your website is mobile-friendly. This takes all of the guesswork out the question: “is my site mobile-ready?”
Here are a couple of tips to enhance the use of the Google mobile-friendly test:
- Make sure you enter https:// if your site is secure or SSL-ready. In another recent update, Google made SSL a bigger priority as well, so it might be something to look into. If you do not enter the “s” on a secure site, it will result in an error on the test.
- If you have a specific landing page you want to test, you can enter that page individually as well. It will tell you if that “page” is exclusively mobile-friendly.
In any case, here is the link to the Google site to test your website.
Actions to make your WordPress website Mobile-Friendly
There are a few options to make your site Mobile-Friendly and a few things to consider, depending on how your WordPress website is currently built. If your site is not mobile-friendly, here are some ways to fix that.
Make sure your separate mobile website is ready
According to Google, it does not matter if your site is fluid responsive or if you have a separate mobile website. Either way, the new changes will not affect your WordPress website(s)…
…Unless you have some optimizations to do.
If you are using a separate mobile website (ie. m.example.com), you will want to review mobile best practices with Google to make sure that your site is ready. Here is the link.
Responsive WordPress Themes for Google Update
If you are using a WordPress theme or an outdated website, you can get WordPress themes that are built for Google’s Mobile Friendly update pretty readily.
Replace the existing theme on your site with a new theme for an easier fix to mobile-ready WordPress websites. There will still be styling work required and some setup, but this will be the simplest solution to a WordPress website not being mobile-friendly.
As mentioned above, another element of the update that will benefit your site is turning your site into a mobile app, which is indexed by Google.
The best and cheapest solution for this admittedly more dramatic change to a WordPress website is AppPresser, a tool which allows you to convert your website into a web app for iOS and Android devices.
You can purchase how many apps you need from the service (if you have client sites to manage and update) from the site. AppPresser provides a platform within WordPress which allows you to convert your site into a mobile app. Cool stuff.
Make your WordPress website “Mobile-Friendly”
Follow these steps, take the test, and your website will be ready for the modern web. There is reason to be concerned as this Google update is big. But hopefully, after reading this resource, you are no longer afraid.
If you have other suggestions to make your site mobile-friendly, leave them below in the comments!