man on mobile phone

Get your site mobile friendly NOW or lose rank in Google

google will penalize website that are not mobile friendly

Is your website mobile friendly?

If not, you had better get on that quick. Because starting April 21, 2015, Google is rolling out another change to their algorithm that will penalize sites not optimized for mobile. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re likely to see a drop in your ranking on Google.

Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap! How do I find out if my site will pass muster? Google has provided a handy tool so that you can test your site and make sure it meets their mobile-friendly criteria. So before you panic, check your site there. If it passed, great! You’re fine, go along with your day.

example of a site that passed google's mobile friendly tool

Oh no, my site failed! Now, what do I do?

First, if you have a WordPress site, make sure your theme is up to date with the latest version. If it is and your site still doesn’t pass, try changing to a different theme. Keep testing themes until you find one that works. You may even be able to switch back to your old theme if the creator updates it so it will be mobile-friendly.

If someone else designed your site and you can’t just quickly change a theme, you will need to get in contact with them or someone else to fix your site.

Other items to check:

  • Make sure links and buttons are far enough away from each other, so people don’t accidentally fat-finger the wrong link when using mobile
  • If you must use Flash, don’t use it for any first-level content or navigation
  • Test your website’s load time and heed the recommendations

Why does Google care so much if sites are mobile friendly?

The same reasons you should. Here are a few stats:

  1. More than 60 percent of all Google searches originate on mobile devices. (Click Metrics)
  2. Google search interest in “near me” has increased 34X since 2011 and nearly doubled from last year. The vast majority come from mobile—80% in Q4 2014. (Think With Google)
  3. Local mobile searches (85.9 billion in 2013) are projected to exceed desktop searches (84 billion) for the first time in 2015 (eMarketer).
  4. Nearly half of consumers say they won’t return to a website if it doesn’t load properly on their mobile devices (The Social Media Hat).
  5. Over half of all mobile searches lead to a purchase (Social Media Today).
  6. 50% of Millennials use their smartphones to research products or services while shopping and 41% have made purchases using their phones (Leaderwest Digital Marketing Journal).

Interested in getting that site mobile-ready now? I bet you are! Hopefully, you are already set, or it will just be a quick fix for you.

UPDATE: Now that we’re almost a year beyond this update, here’s a great follow-up article that reiterates the importance of having a mobile-friendly website. With more and more people turning to mobile for most of their internet needs, it just makes good business sense.

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Laura Nunemaker

15+ years experience in email marketing, social media, and content development. Former retail bakery owner. Digital nomad. Loves cycling & scuba diving. Vegan.