With the rapid pace of mobile tech, reading content on your mobile phone should be a seamless part of daily life. But instead, your thumbs get a serious workout from zooming in to read each line, or you might unintentionally click a link or call to action.
The mobile user experience is fragmented. To combat this pervasive issue, Google recently launched a mobile-friendly update that some people are referring to as “Mobilegeddon.” According to Google, this update “will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high-quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”
Google has high hopes for this worldwide update. But as content creators, we wanted to explore the implications this will have for brands that are feverishly attempting to connect with audiences via mobile.
This update will affect your mobile search rankings for your homepage, blog, specific landing pages, and virtually every page connected to your site. So your site must be optimized for readability on mobile and able to load quickly and logically.
Along with a ranking boost, optimizing landing pages for mobile can also dramatically increase conversion rates. Simply having legible form fields and CTA buttons with adequate space surrounding them can go a long way in improving the user experience and bumping up conversion rates.
Google’s update will also have an impact on your contributed content. When guest posting for a publication, evaluate whether it’s mobile-friendly to ensure your off-site content is discoverable via mobile search.
To avoid being penalized, consider these three tips:
Prior to the algorithm change, Google developed an awesome webmaster tool to help you determine whether your site will pass the test. If it doesn’t meet the criteria, the tool will tell you exactly what you need to improve to avoid a penalty. Keep in mind that the test only analyzes individual pages — not your entire website — so be sure to check multiple pages of your website and blog to ensure everything checks out.
I know it’s 2015 and responsive design isn’t a new concept, but you’d be surprised how many websites still don’t have a responsive design.
We created our website using HubSpot’s Content Optimization System, which uses responsive design to adapt to mobile on its own (we’re fortunate for that). Because this system is mobile-friendly, it didn’t require any extra legwork. If you aren’t using a system like HubSpot, check out Google’s Principles of Site Design to better understand what elements are important to creating a well-designed mobile experience.
If your website isn’t mobile-friendly and you’re unsure whether it’s worth your time, look at your Google Analytics to see what percentage of organic traffic comes from mobile. If that number is high, making the necessary changes might be worth the investment.
Many designers are taking a page from WIRED’s book and optimizing their websites for mobile first, rather than working backward from desktop. This mentality forces you to take a clean, minimalist approach to design. Because screen space is limited, you’ll naturally create a hierarchy of information.
Using a card-based approach to design makes it easy to piece the site back together on larger screens. But never discriminate based on screen size; you want to ensure your website is user-friendly on both desktop and mobile. Window Resizer is a great Chrome extension that allows you to easily preview a screen on browser windows of different sizes, including common screen sizes for smartphones.
Google’s algorithm update is a helpful reminder about the importance of delighting your readers with engaging content and perfecting the user experience with design and usability in mind. Mobile isn’t going away, so if you aren’t optimizing these experiences, you’re leaving profitable opportunities at the door.