If you were one of the folks who received a notice from Google saying your site has “critical mobile usability errors,” this post is for you! Google’s Fix Mobile Usability Message was recently sent to prepare site owners for the update Google will release April 21st.
From Google’s Webmaster Central Blog: “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”.
Critical Mobile Usability Error
This is a fancy way of saying that your site is not mobile friendly. If you view your site on a mobile device, and the text, links, and images look tiny on your screen, your site is most likely not optimized for mobile. The best way to make a site mobile friendly is with a responsive design, as responsive aims to remove the need of having to “pinch and zoom” to click a link or navigate a site, and delivers the best possible experience, depending on a user’s device.
Separate Site for Mobile
If you have a separate mobile and desktop sites, any traffic that goes to the mobile URL, will be separate from the desktop URL. By having a responsive design, your traffic will not be fragmented across two URLs. This gives your site an extra boost in search rankings, and makes viewing your site easier for a user. Mobile users need things like larger buttons (even those of us who have tiny hands can accidentally click a link on a site that is not mobile-friendly), and the last thing you want to do is create extra steps or frustrate a customer. If responsive is done well, the user’s behavior will not be influenced by their environment. Your responsive design will be doing the leg work – detecting the user’s network speed and screen size, and notifying the design of these requirements.
Examples of Responsive Designs
Here are a few examples of sites that have a responsive design. If you are on a desktop, grab the edge of your browser’s window, and notice how the site “responds” to fit the window. If you are on a mobile device, you can already see the design has adjusted to fit your device’s screen size.
More On Responsive Design
If you are interested in finding out more about responsive design, Google is currently offering a free, 2 week course. You can also check out our post about Responsive Design, and the benefits of having a custom design. Most eCommerce solutions now offer responsive templates and themes, so this is a great time to utilize a template and customize the design so it is unique.
Unsure If Your Site is Responsive?
Click here for Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test, which will analyze a URL and let you know if your site has a mobile-friendly design.
What are your thoughts about Google’s new update? Please post your questions or comments below.
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