Getting ready for the mobile search update

Getting ready for the mobile search update
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Google’s mobile search update is racing its way towards us and ahead of its roll out next month, we thought we would take a look at what websites need to be doing to get ready; as we know, getting it wrong can mean quite a drop in search engine rankings, which can be hard to come back from.

Are you mobile-friendly?

First things first, you need to find out where you stand. Are you mobile-friendly or not? Happily, this is easy to find out thanks to Google’s mobile-friendly test tool. Simply head to the tool and enter your website address, Google will then analyse your offering and let you know how you rate.

You can also view insights through the mobile usability report in Google Webmaster Tools, which lets you know of any mobile related issues it has detected. The crawl errors report also contains a smartphone section that tells you if the smartphone crawler has come across any issues while checking your site.

What to do if you are not mobile-friendly?

One of the major issues that causes problems on mobile is if your site only displays in desktop form. This makes it extremely difficult to navigate on a smartphone or tablet as it can appear very small and feel awkward to use. It will still be usable for those who want to persevere with it, but the truth is the majority of users won’t have the patience and will simply head elsewhere and you will lose out.

Sadly, your options to remedy this issue aren’t necessarily straightforward. In an ideal world, you will be operating a site that is responsive; by that, we mean it detects the size of the device’s screen it is being viewed on and tailors the content that it shows accordingly, for the best user experience.

There are website themes out there that have this function built-in, but if completely revamping your site is not what you want, you will need to engage a web developer to add this functionality for you.

The alternative, of course, is simply to do without the traffic that mobile can bring, but being as mobile searches now outnumber their desktop counterparts, this is not an option we would recommend.