- Denoting a catastrophic event caused by or related to the Google “mobile friendly” algorithm update on April 21st 2015.
“Rankings haven’t been the same since mobile-geddon!”
Zombie apocalypse…or not?
Before the mobile friendly update, Google’s Zineb Ait Bahajji stated that the upcoming mobile friendly update would affect more sites than Panda or Penguin, a statement that made many webmasters and marketers cower in fear of impending doom.
More than a month later, after the smoke has settled, what does the post-apocalyptic mobile-wasteland look like?
In short, across the board, most reports are concluding that the doomsday factor of mobilegeddon may have been grossly over exaggerated…but don’t despair!
How do I make the most from the mobile update?
As always, there is a silver lining to every stormy cloud, and there is no better motivation to fix a leaky roof than rainclouds on the horizon. The panic-induced influx of mobile friendly sites/responsive sites has paved the way for a better mobile user experience on the web, and motivated many companies to take a renewed look at their mobile strategy.
Trying to convince the powers that be to spend time and resources on mobile can be a challenge, but there is no doubt that mobilegeddon was just the first push for mobile from Google. A recent report from eMarketer stated that mobile ad spending could grow from ~£12.3 billion in 2014 to ~£42 billion in 2019, at a compound annual growth rate of 28%.
With desktop traffic slowly on the decline, now is as good a time as any to make the most out of the mobile hype, and use this as your chance to flourish!
Get responsive already!
(NEXT still need to get their act together)
To aid in the common layman understanding of what in the world responsive design is, Ethan Marcotte, the man who coined the term “Responsive Web Design” has a nice explanation:
‘By marrying fluid, grid-based layouts and CSS3 media queries, we can create one design that responds to the shape of the display rendering it. Responsive Web Design is a more unified, more holistic approach to design’.
If this sounds like poetry to you, then you are probably an accomplished (albeit slightly nerdy) web developer.
Put simply, it’s a ‘one site to rule them all’ game plan. This can potentially save on time needed to update and make changes to your site, as you only need to change something once, instead of updating a desktop and mobile site. It’s also excellent for user experience as users get the same fluid experience and content no matter what device they visit from.
But there are a few things you need to keep an eye on when going responsive. The softpress blog has a great checklist of things to look out for that we’ve compiled here for your viewing pleasure:
- Make sure that all images are compressed as much as possible, as this affects load speed.
- Try not to use too many gigantic images. They look great on a big screen, but can increase load time and push valuable text down the page when viewed on a smaller screen.
- Design buttons with touchscreens in mind. Make them big and easy to spot.
- Don’t place clickable content too close to corners as thumbs tend to inadvertently touch them.
- Make contact information clickable, so visitors can click to call or open up an email.
- When going for fonts, choose easy to read (at any size) type. No crazy custom fonts!
- Break up your text with subheadings and bullet points so your text can be quickly scanned through on a mobile device.
- Aim to keep page titles to around 40 characters and descriptions at 90 characters or fewer so they read well on mobile.
- Optimise your mobile site for local traffic so people know where you are and can see your results in local SERPs.
- Voice activated searches are more common on mobile, so make sure to check off the long tail keywords.
Share and share alike
- Ensure social sharing and share through email buttons feature prominently (read: not too small) so users can post, like, +1 and tweet your content easily to their social circles.
Once you feel confident that you’ve ticked all the boxes, dotted all the I’s and crossed all the T’s, the last step is to check if your site now meets Google’s mobile-friendly test tool!
It might be a good idea to make a habit of checking this every now and then to ensure you remain compliant. It’s free and will give you a good idea of how mobile friendly your site is.
If you’re given the all clear from Google, all that’s left is to sit back, relax, and wait for the pretty “mobile friendly” tag to appear in the mobile search results…and wait for the next Google apocalypse…