Google’s “slaps” have now become things of legend online. From Panda to Penguin to Hummingbird, they all left confusion, hype and misinformation in their wake.
My experience with SEO has been this.
Write for your reader, and not for the search engines, and you will do well.
Put another way; write for people, not robots.
Candidly, because I write for you (my readers) my sites have only been helped by the Google animal kingdom.
Back to today’s message.
Today there is a threat to all of us, if we don’t take the right action.
It has nothing to do with SEO and everything to do with the incredible surge in mobile devices.
On April 21, 2015 a change is coming.
That change is this …
After April 21, 2015 sites that are not mobile friendly will be punished in mobile search results.
Notice two things –
1. Sites are not going to be “banned” or “de-indexed”. They will simply not show up in searches or be shown as not mobile-friendly.
2. VERY important – the searches these sites will not show up in are going to be mobile searches only. Not searches done on laptop or desktop computers. That’s important.
How Can This Affect You?
It is very likely you are getting more traffic from mobile than you may think. I checked my Google Analytics and was surprised to learn that over 25% of our visitors are on mobile.
For me, mobile traffic turns out to be a big deal.
How To Avoid The Penalty
Happily, avoiding the penalty is easy and free to accomplish.
Simply make sure your site is mobile friendly.
The easiest way to do this is to open your site on your mobile device. If you see a mobile friendly design you are good to go.
Not sure what a “mobile friendly” design looks like and want to be 100% sure your site complies?
Here is a link to Google’s own mobile-friendly testing tool. Free to use of course.
Want To Know More?
If you want the background story on all of this, and want to hear from some industry experts as well, consider these links.
It’s a short and non-technical announcement. Since it’s usually good to get your knowledge from the “horse’s mouth” this is worth your time.
Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change 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.
Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land
Danny has been a voice of reason in SEO since 1996. He is a trusted voice in an industry rife with false claims, hype and outright fraud.
I suggest making Danny one of your “go to” authorities.
Google already penalizes sites that provide a bad experience to mobile searchers. Now the company has confirmed that it’s testing with what seems like a boost for those providing a great experience.
Google said today that it is experimenting with giving sites that have earned its new mobile-friendly label some type of special treatment within its ranking algorithm.
Simple Steps To Make Your Site Comply
This site is new to me but the information is clear and on point.
Here are a few central ways to ensuring your website is awarded with that all-important mobile-friendly label:
Place links far enough apart allowing users to easily tap the link they want
Use a font and text size clear enough to read without zooming
Avoid software that isn’t common on mobile sites, such as Flash
Ensure the viewport fits the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
Moz – The Ultimate SEO Authority
I follow Moz more than any other site when it comes to SEO. I use, and recommend, their service. And I’ve never gone wrong taking their conservative advice.
9 Things You Need to Know About Google’s Mobile-Friendly Update
This Plugin Will Solve The Problem
And finally, I wanted you to have access to a free plugin that will solve the problem.
Many, if not most, of you are already using a WordPress theme that is mobile friendly.
But if you are not, changing themes can be a major hassle. So instead of changing themes, consider adding this plugin to get the job done.
You can get it by going to WordPress.org or from the control panel of your WordPress blog.
WPtouch is a mobile plugin for WordPress that automatically enables a simple and elegant mobile theme for mobile visitors of your WordPress website.
The administration panel allows you to customize many aspects of its appearance, and deliver a fast, user-friendly and stylish version of your site to your mobile visitors, without modifying a single bit of code (or affecting) your regular desktop theme.
Whether your current WordPress theme is mobile compliant or not, the good news is that you can fix the problem in under 10 minutes.
And those are beautiful things indeed!