Google recently announced that it is changing its mobile search algorithm on April 24th to exclude or penalize sites that are not optimized for mobile. As you might expect, this has sent shockwaves through the marketing community. Companies are scrambling to interpret what this means and determine what to do before the deadline.
We’ve done some of the heavy lifting for you (at least the research). After reading a number of articles on the issue and sifting through the good and the bad, we put together this guide to how businesses can determine if their sites are mobile-optimized—and what to do if they’re not.
Here are two of the recent articles about the pending mobile algorithm change. You may wish to check them out.
How to Determine if Your Site is Optimized for Mobile
If you are a marketer or savvy business owner there is a good chance you already know if your website is mobile-optimized. The easy way to check is to view your website on a mobile phone and on a desktop. If the website looks exactly the same on your little screen and your big screen, with no differences in either navigation or layout, chances are the site is not optimized for mobile. A site that’s mobile-optimized or mobile-responsive will adapt to the mobile device it’s displayed on, altering the navigation and layout of the site, making it easier on the user’s eyes and fingers.
Another way to determine if your site is mobile-optimized is to use the Google Mobile-Friendly Tool in Google Developer. You can enter your website address in this site and it will tell you if your site is optimized for mobile—and give you tips on what you need to do if it’s not.
Here are the results we saw when we tested LeadG2.com:
What Should You Do if You Don’t Have a Mobile-Optimized Website?
If your site was built even as recently as 3 or 4 years ago, there is a good chance that your site wasn’t built on a platform or CMS that’s mobile-responsive or to automatically optimize for the mobile device. The good news is that if you have determined that your site needs to be optimized for mobile, there are two options available to you that might not be too expensive and will help you meet the April 24th deadline.
- Migrate your site with few or no design changes
- Totally redesign your site
Regardless of which option you choose, be sure the Content Management System (CMS) that you choose is either automatically optimized or can accommodate a plug-in for mobile optimization. Most modern website platforms like HubSpot’s COS (Content Optimization System), WordPress (some require plugins), and even free sites like Wix have most of their templates already optimized for mobile, leaving you little to do except find a web designer that has experience with the platform you choose.
Migrate Your Site with Few or No Design Changes
Migrating your site—which means moving all the content from your current platform without redesigning the layout or adding content—to a mobile-optimized site is the easiest way to make your site mobile-friendly. It will save you a significant amount of time and money which, in light of April 24th deadline, is probably prudent. For companies that are happy with the look of their site and the content there, migrating to a mobile-optimized site is the way to go.
Total Redesign of Your Site
If you are going to go through the time and expense to create a mobile-optimized site, it might be a good time to redesign the look and feel of the site at the same time. This total redesign can accomplish at least two objectives—making your site attractive, legible, easy to navigate on mobile devices, and better ranked by Google; and taking the opportunity to update the look to one that’s more modern and attractive (yes, website fashions change much like clothing fashions change, and people can tell when your site looks five years old).
This is certainly the more expensive option and one that will take much more time and effort, but if you haven’t made that investment in a few years, this is probably the perfect time.
Whichever course of action you choose, the important thing is to hop on it now! As I write this, you have only about 4 weeks until Google moves to its new mobile algorithm. Mobile devices are taking ever bigger chunks of the consumer’s time spent online, so mobile searches are increasingly common. Few businesses can afford to disadvantage themselves in Google’s mobile search results. You want those mobile visitors. You need those mobile visitors. Now you know what to do and what your deadline is.