Almost a year back we had created a list of top Indian Websites that were not responsive. A lot has changed since then. Myntra has moved to an App Only approach and closed down their mobile site. In the same context, Google’s next update is expected to be rolled out on April 21, 2015 and will concentrate largely on positively impacting sites that are mobile responsive. There will also be a marginal negative impact on mobile search results for websites that are not responsive.
So the question to ask here is, whether you site is mobile friendly? Google has its Mobile Friendly Testing Tool which can help you check. If you get a message “Awesome! This page is mobile-friendly.”, then you have little to worry as you will most likely be on the safer side of the line.
However, for those who haven’t made their site responsive this Google update is going to put in jeopardy the search traffic and eventually ranking. Here are some tips to help you get started on this front.
- How to Ensure You Site Is Mobile Friendly
Creating a mobile responsive site will be the key step towards being in tandem with the Google update. This was Google’s announcement earlier this year which clearly indicates Google’s focus on mobile friendliness. “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.”
The main reason behind the update taking this path is Google’s consistent stand on giving users the best online experience. With mobile traffic having significantly overtaken PC traffic in the past two years this update seems all the more relevant. Google even has an extensive guide on creating mobile friendly sites. If you have Google Webmaster they have a new Mobile Usability feature to showcase if there are usability issues that still exist.
If you are using a Content Management System (CMS) To make your site mobile friendly here are a few essential tips:
For Word Press Sites: If you own a word press site you can simply use a plugins available online. The three best plugins available are
- WP Touch: This plugin converts your website automatically for mobile devices. The admin panel of the plugin allows you to modify various aspects of the site’s appearance enabling you to provide a simpler yet stylish version of your website. They have a free theme which works wonders but they also have premium mobile themes if you are looking at something more specific. It essentially takes your existing content on wordpress and embeds it into the mobile theme.
- WP Mobile Detector: This plugin works by automatically detecting whether the browser being used is from a normal phone or smartphone. Once detected it loads a compatible version that suits the particular browser.
- Mobile Press: Renders a mobile friendly version of the site when accessed via a phone. It also provides options to use other custom themes for better user experience.
For Magento Sites: Using existing mobile responsive themes is one option that many are considering. If you have an existing theme which is non-responsive then there are plugins to help with this.
- ShopGate: This plugin allows you to launch your own mobile website or native app with your existing magento installation. The look and feel may not be identical to your existing desktop design but its a quick fix.
- SimiCart: Another way to handle this issue on Magento is to have a native Mobile App connected with your existing Magento installation. Simicart is an amazing tool to accomplish this.
The last option would be to adapt the existing theme to being responsive, but it requires extensive changes to be made at the code level.
- Increase Speed of your Mobile Site
The time your site takes to load plays a strong role in improving your page rankings. Despite the best mobile data connection, sites sometimes take a while to load and the reason behind it could be due to complex codes, slow server and other factors. Analyzing these problems and addressing them quickly can help give your site an advantage.
Once these changes have been made appropriate modifications have to be made in the Google Webmaster Tool as mentioned in the steps below.
- Sign into your Google Webmaster account and add your site if you haven’t already.
- Once done click on the crawl option in the sidebar and then click on the ‘Fetch as Google option’
- Select the mobile and desktop options one by one and click ‘fetch and render’.
- Once rendered you will then have to click on the ‘submit to index’ button to let google crawl your updated site.
With the update coming out today, it would be prudent to make these changes to your site as early as possible. Making changes sooner will help your traffic remain higher after the update. If you are having difficulties in making these changes, hiring good developers to make them is always a recommended option.
We would love to hear from you if you have seen any positive or negative mobile traffic from today. Please do share it in the comments below.