Today I attended the Affiliate Summit East here in Philly, and one of the speakers was Wil Reynolds, founder and CEO of Seer Interactive, a premier SEO agency (I worked for Wil in 2011). His talk was full of nuggets of wisdom about the continuing changes in how search results are ranked, but one thing he said really stood out: since nearly 20% of all web traffic is now coming from mobile, Google is going to begin penalizing sites that aren’t mobile friendly.
If you’re a blogger, you need to take a moment and make sure your site is mobile ready AND avoids a few mistakes that will definitely earn you the new Google ranking penalty for slow mobile site speed. Here’s what you need to do.
Is your site really mobile enough? 1 of 6
Getting your site mobile friendly!
Responsive Web Design 2 of 6
Thanks to the increasing popularity of tablets, it's not enough to just have your site have a smartphone option; you need what is called a "responsive" web design.
If you're on Wordpress, you can find great plugins to make your site mobile friendly — but it might not be enough. I use the Thesis theme, and it turns out it's not responsive at all, so I'll be getting a new theme for my site (probably Genesis Framework). If you're on Blogger, here's what Google suggests. If you are on a different platform, make sure you know how to make your site mobile friendly.
Image credit: Deposit Photos.
Avoid Pop-Ups 3 of 6
Does your site have a pop-up window, asking folks to sign up for your newsletter (or even use an app)? Might be time to get rid of it; Google says those pop-ups on mobile sites slow down site time and might hurt your rankings.
Image credit: WDT.
404 Error on Mobile 4 of 6
According to the Google Webmaster blog, you need to avoid serving 404 errors on sites.
"If you recognize a user is visiting a desktop page from a mobile device and you have an equivalent smartphone-friendly page at a different URL, redirect them to that URL instead of serving a 404 or a soft 404 page."
Google has some suggestions about eliminating 404 errors here.
Make Images Responsive 5 of 6
This one is a bit tricky; you need to make sure your images are also responsive and adjusting to the screen they are being viewed on. If you make your full site mobile ready, you might not need to also address your images. But you'll find a great tutorial to fix images here, just in case.
Test Your Site 6 of 6
Take a minute and head over to Mobiready and see how your site does. I was dismayed to find that even though my site has a plugin to make it mobile friendly, it still tests poorly. Time for me to find a different theme that works better on mobile!