Google “Mobilegeddon” and Mobile Friendly Websites – What You Need to Do Now
Is your website mobile-friendly? In this article, find out how Google’s “mobilegeddon” update will impact your health coaching website, and what it will take to make your site mobile ready today.
What is “Mobilegeddon”?
For those of you unaware, Google has rolled out a new update to their search engine ranking algorithm.
Google announced, “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. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”
Because of its significant impact on mobile search results, it’s being called “mobilegeddon.” Why? Because in the world of SEO, major changes by Google are akin to the Horsemen of the Apocalypse. And this update is no exception.
How This Impacts Health Coaching Websites
At first glance, this update may not seem relevant to coaching websites. After all, most coaching websites have little or no ranking in search engine results. But before you dismiss the impact, consider the following…
1. 50% of all Google searches come from mobile devices, and about 80% of internet users own a smartphone.
This means people are searching for YOUR services on mobile devices. They’re not just looking for the closest Italian restaurant or checking movie times on their smartphone.
2. Many of your subscribers check their emails on mobile devices.
If you’re sending emails or newsletters to your list, many are reading these from a mobile device. And when they click a link to get to your website, it needs to be mobile friendly – or they will leave.
What Does “Mobile Friendly” Mean?
Until recently, it’s been possible for websites to perform well without worrying about mobile optimization.
Mobile friendly used to mean that the site looked as good on a mobile device as it did on a computer monitor – all the videos, audios, and links worked, the images displayed correctly, and you didn’t have overlapping or missing content. Sure, the text was small, and you often had to zoom in. But the site was still readable.
Google’s definition changes that. Now for a site to be considered mobile friendly, it needs to include the following:
§ Fonts that scale for easy reading on smaller screens
§ Touch elements, like buttons, that are easy to use and spaced away from other touch elements
§ Pages that load quickly
§ Videos, images, and text appear correctly on mobile devices
Mobile Site vs. Mobile Responsive
Many people are confused about the difference between a dedicated mobile site and a mobile responsive site. Here’s the difference in a nutshell, and which one is the better choice for most holistic practitioners.
A mobile site is a separate site with it’s own content.
This is perfect for sites like Amazon.com where it would be problematic to try to navigate the desktop version of the website on a tiny smartphone screen because of the dozens of hyperlinks. When someone goes to Amazon.com on their smartphone, they are automatically redirected to the mobile version of the website. The mobile site is easy to use on a mobile device.
Pros: People typically have a better experience on a mobile device. Mobile sites have less content, different navigation, and unique mobile-only choices. They are relatively simple to build and therefore, typically lower-cost to develop.
Cons: While the mobile website will give a better user experience on a mobile device, it has some big drawbacks.
First, this is a separate website. So you’ll have to maintain two websites, instead of one. Also problematic is irrelevant cross-links, e.g. mobile URLs that redirect to a desktop URL and vise versa.
Second, mobile websites are built for optimal display at a specific width, such as 320px wide or 768px wide. And it’s just not cost effective to build separate mobile sites for all the different standard resolutions of mobile devices.
A mobile responsive site is a website that takes a standard desktop site and instructs the mobile device on how to display it properly.
Responsive sites handle any resolution and screen size with CSS files. Computers, tablets, and smartphones will all display the website in the best way possible.
Today, many WordPress themes have a mobile responsive option built in to them. The best themes even allow you to choose which content to exclude on a mobile device so that your site looks better and provides a better user experience.
Pros: Google recommends this type of mobile friendly site. It adjusts itself for any resolution and screen width, which means your website visitors will get an optimal experience on any device.
Cons: Responsive sites are more complicated to build than either a standard website or a mobile site. Therefore, the upfront cost may be higher. On a responsive site, you have to remember that content will be displayed differently in an optimal mobile layout, depending on the screen size. So you’ll need a strategy for both content and layout.
What to Do Now
Here’s what you can do now to get your health coaching website mobile ready.
1) Check if your site is mobile friendly. You can run a mobile friendly test here for free: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/
If your site passes the test, congratulations! You can skip the following steps.
2) Make your site mobile responsive.
If you have a WordPress site with a mobile responsive theme, enable the responsive option. If you don’t have a WordPress site, check with your webmaster or website developer to see if this is an option for you.
Once you’ve enabled the mobile responsive option, you’ll need to check your website on mobile devices to see how it displays. There’s a strong possibility that the site will not display content as well as you’d like – after all, it was designed for a desktop monitor.
At this point, you’ll want to redesign the layout and content of your web pages so the site displays optimally on all devices. Your webmaster can do this on a separate site so that your current site stays online while it’s being worked on.
If your current site doesn’t have a mobile responsive option, go to step 3.
3) Update your current site or create a new site.
Maybe you have an older website that doesn’t have a mobile responsive option. If so, then this is the perfect time for you to update your site.
Or maybe you’re ready for your first coaching website. The timing couldn’t be better because now you can build one optimized with Google’s latest best practices.
I highly recommend using a WordPress mobile responsive theme that allows you to exclude some content from the mobile version. This will enable you to have shorter webpages with less content and give visitors a better experience on mobile devices.
I’ve experimented with several such themes over the last few months and my favorite is the WordPress theme “The7.” It’s amazing. You can buy a license at themeforest.net here: http://themeforest.net/item/the7-responsive-multipurpose-wordpress-theme/5556590
Google’s new algorithm update caught many sites by surprise, even big sites like HubPages, American Apparel, and Nintendo. So if your site isn’t mobile ready yet, you have time to fix it, but it’s not something you want to put off too long.
Follow the 3 steps above to get your site mobile ready today. For some sites, it’ll be as easy as clicking a checkbox in your WordPress theme dashboard. For others, you may find this is the perfect time to update your site or create a new site.
If you need assistance or just want an online expert to audit your site and help you choose the right option for you, I have a few openings on my calendar for a complimentary Mobile Ready Strategy Session. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and request yours today.
Please leave a comment or question below – or make a suggestion of your own. I’d love to hear from you.