Upcoming Major Google Algorithm Update Focuses On Mobile Usability

Mobile-Friendly Algorithm Update by GoogleGoogle has announced a major change to the way they compute what sites show up in search results on mobile devices. If a site is not configured for proper mobile usability, then that site will rank lower than it had previously.

From Google:

“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”  – Google Webmaster Blog

A ‘mobile-friendly website’ means the website, when accessed from a smartphone, displays in a way that allows users to navigate and use the website easily. This could require adjustments to your website to ensure that the page displays & functions properly for all devices.

The most common mobile usability errors are:

  • Content Sized To Viewport –

    This means the page content is too wide for the viewport, forcing the user to scroll horizontally. Size the content to viewport to provide a better user experience.

  • Size Tap Targets Appropriately –

    This means that some of the links/buttons on your webpage may be too small for a user to easily tap on a touchscreen. Consider making these tap targets larger to provide a better user experience.

  • Small Font Size –

    This means text on your page renders in a way that may be difficult for some of your visitors to read. Use legible font sizes to provide a better user experience.

  • Fixed-Width Viewport –

    This means that your page does not have a viewport specified. This causes mobile devices to render your page as it would appear on a desktop browser, scaling it down to fit on a mobile screen. Configure a viewport to allow your page to render properly on all devices.

  • Avoid Plugins –

    Plugins help the browser process special types of web content, such as Flash, Silverlight, and Java. Most mobile devices do not support plugins, and plugins are a leading cause of hangs, crashes, and security incidents in browsers that provide support. Due to these concerns, many desktop browsers restrict plugins:

As Google has announced that they will begin treating sites with these warnings differently on April 21, 2015, businesses need to make sure that those usability issues are dealt with before it causes a negative impact on mobile traffic to their websites.  If you are uncomfortable with addressing these changes on your own, The SEO team at Philly Marketing Labs is experienced with ensuring mobile website usability, and can help you address any errors you are seeing in Google Webmaster Tools.

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