As of today, Google has officially added “mobile friendliness” to the long list of 200 or so factors in its search criteria, a change that they warned companies would eventually be coming. As such, if pages aren’t user-friendly on mobile devices — for instance, the font is off or the page just doesn’t show up correctly — a site’s Google ranking will fall.
According to eMarketer, there were 100 million mobile users last year. That number is expected to grow into the billions by 2016. This new algorithm takes that into account. We spoke with an expert, Formstack’s Tyler Cook, on this topic for a story recently. If you still haven’t taken stock of your mobile site, now’s the time to take another look to be sure there’s nothing there that would make it too difficult for visitors to navigate it. There’s also a mobile-friendly test page you can use.
That said, a spokesperson told The New York Times that “if a page with high-quality content is not mobile-friendly, it could still rank high if it has great content for the query.” So don’t freak out too much. Still if your page is more annoying than the competition’s you may find yourself losing traffic.
According to a TechCrunch report, 44 percent of the Fortune 500 aren’t mobile-friendly. Among the companies that do get their seal of approval are Wal-Mart, Exxon, Apple, Verizon and Costco.
So our second suggestion would be to take a look at those sites on a couple of different devices and to see what’s working for them. Use that information to consider improvements to your client’s site.
Finally — and this is a suggestion coming from us as users — think about what you want your site to do the best. Is it for sharing information? For making purchases? For giving instructions? There are some sites I’ve gone to just to get contact info, while others are useful for various kinds of updates. It’s important to take that into account to help focus your energies. USA Today also has some pointers to help with any mobile upgrades you need to make.