Last week Google made an important change to their search algorithm. If your website doesn’t perform well on mobile devices, it won’t be shown in mobile search results. With users accessing the web increasingly from mobile devices over desktops, this change can make or break a business.
Google have created a site checker to see how mobile-friendly your website is. If you’re a web developer, this is now a must for your testing phase. It’s a great idea to run your site through the checker, but especially important if the business relies heavily on mobile traffic like restaurants, cafes or generally anyone with a retail storefront where a user may need to access the site for opening hours or directions.
Head to Google’s Webmaster tools to access the checker – https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/
When a website doesn’t meet the mobile-friendly criteria, Google will display the reasons why so developers can address them. Often sites will fall down due to the requirement of a plugin often not supported by mobile browsers like Flash or Java, or simply CSS layout issues that means elements don’t fit on a mobile screen. Fonts are also analysed to see if they’re readable at this size and trappable by the larger size of a human finger, compared to a mouse cursor.
If you’re a website developer, you should already be very comfortable with building responsive websites that work well on all display sizes. The biggest problem will be those sites that haven’t been refreshed in the past 3-4 years since modern web technologies have afforded adaptive layouts.
There are some exceptions to the new Google rules, that is, if a user searches specifically for what is obviously a business name, the result will show, but if they search for a term the site would normally rank for, users won’t see the result.