Updated: Aug 27, 2022
One of Google's tests for ranking your website is whether you have a truly mobile website. If you do not have a responsive or separate mobile site, you probably asking yourself, how does this affect my website rankings?
As more users continue to increase their searching on mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones, they are most likely searching your website on those devices as well. If they are, and if your website is not mobile-friendly, it will rank lower than any of your competitors with a mobile-friendly site.
What does Mobile Friendly Mean?
Mobile-friendly is more than just having your site displayed on a mobile device. Mobile friendly means:
Your text is large enough to read on a mobile device as is without having to zoom.
The code you are using is supported on mobile devices. (Avoid Flash and other unsupported products.)
The screen is sized or resized so that users can read the content no matter which way the screen is held.
Pictures need to be optimized in size for mobile devices, and the pages need to load quickly on a mobile device, just as they do on a desktop.
Links need to be far enough apart that they can be distinguished when they are selected.
Questions you may be asking yourself:
How do I know if my website is mobile-friendly, and how will this impact my rankings?
What are my options if my website is not mobile friendly
Google has tools available that can be accessed through your Google Search Console / Webmaster Tools. They allow you to run your website through the tools to understand whether it will pass for mobile friendly.
Our mobile traffic on our website is 30% of all traffic, so we needed to move to a content management system that supported responsive sites. To determine how important this might be, you may want to look at your Google Analytics and determine how many people search your website from mobile devices. That number has steadily increased over the last year and will continue to increase over time for most websites. If I think about myself, the majority of searches I make for products, services, or information when I am not sitting at my desk at the office; it is when I am on my Samsung smartphone or tablet. Think about who your potential customers are, which will help you determine how you will be affected by this change.
Suppose your website is not compliant, and you have purchased a website in the last few years, and your web developer did not discuss mobility as an option with you. In that case, returning to your current web development company may not be as easy. You may want to consider looking for a web development company that advertises the development of responsive or mobile sites and make sure that after you invest in a website that supports mobile. Be sure to ask for reference sites.
If you want to upgrade or make significant changes to your website, you might consider developing a responsive website for your business. A responsive design conforms to whatever device the site is running. If you just invested in a new site and were not looking to spend much money on your website, you might consider using the mobile site option. This option provides a separate site for mobile devices which contains only the most pertinent information.
There will still be a cost and, in most cases, an extra hosting fee, but it will not cost as much as a full website redesign. An example of a responsive site can be seen in the picture above. Some products, such as Go Mobi, allow developers to create a separate mobile site for your business. I find many companies like restaurants use this option as they do not need the same content on their mobile site as their desktop version.
Even if you do not have much traffic for your website on mobile devices today, this is something you will want to consider over the next while, as moving to mobile is inevitable for us all.
The critical question is how long it will take before mobile users outweigh desktop users. I don't believe this time is very far off - don't have your business lose out on traffic. In many cases, depending on the type of business - this is already the case.