Google have announced that their “mobile friendly” change is going to take effect from the 21st April, so you’ve got a month to get your site ready if it isn’t already.

This change is going to effect searches done from mobile devices – if an Internet User carries out a Google search using a smartphone or tablet the search results they see will favour mobile-friendly – or “responsive” – websites. If you currently come up top in search results for your chosen field, but your site isn’t responsive, you may see a dip in traffic after this change comes into effect.

Internet Users carrying out searches on desktop computers won’t be effected by this change.

Google have created a “mobile friendly” testing tool so that you can see what Google thinks of your site. The tool will tell you if you need to make changes. You can then discuss with your web developer whether you just make these changes to tick the right boxes for Google, or whether you go a little further and consider all the usablity aspects of your site and make it truly responsive for your Users.

“Responsive” is the term for websites which change their design or layout to suit the size of the screen displaying them.

Do I need to bother with this change?

If you’re wondering if you need to worry about this change in Google’s alogrithm, then you need to just ask yourself a few questions.

1) Do you rely on Google for traffic?

If you do – then you may well need to consider updating your site to suit their new rules.

2) Do you get a lot of traffic from mobile devices?

If you have Google Analytics installed on your site then you can use that to see the percentage of traffic to your site from mobile devices. If that percentage is high, and is from Google, then you may well be effected by this change if you don’t conform to it.

To see this information in Google Analytics, click on the Audience tab, then Mobile, and Overview, a shown below.

But my site looks fine on my iPhone!

This is the kicker – lots of sites are fine on a phone or tablet even though they’re not actually responsive. Unfortunately Google’s tests are automated and are looking for key things in the code which will tell them if they’re responsive or not. Meaning lots of sites which are perfectly usable on a phone will be penalised unless they become actually responsive.

If you need a hand with making your site responsive, please get in touch.