If you happened to miss the announcement by Google earlier this year, it implemented mobile-friendly ranking criteria in its search results in mid-April. Prior to this time, Google made available various tools for websites to test their content and verify whether it was already mobile-friendly or required updating. Google was encouraging websites to take the initiative and update content, as needed, prior to the mandatory change in ranking criteria.
If you were one of the many sites that did not verify the mobile-friendliness of the site content for one reason or another, now is the time to update your site content before it drastically impacts your search engine rankings. The first thing to do is to download and run the free mobile-friendly comparison tool from Google. This tool will give provide specific details about the mobile-friendliness of the website.
After running the tool, even if it reports the site is mobile-friendly, take the time to experience your site content from the mobile-user’s perspective. You might notice certain issues and problems with how site content is being displayed on a smartphone or tablet. It also does not hurt to visit your website from both types of mobile devices. Make a list of any problems you discover so they can be corrected.
While you are modifying site content and adapting it for the mobile user, pay particular attention to the following seven items, as these are the most common mistakes made during site conversions.
- Slow loading pages on mobile devices: The speed of page load times is different for mobile users depending upon their data connection. Google offers its PageSpeed Insights report to find potential problems with recommendations on how to fix them.
- Incorrect Page Redirects: If you have separate mobile and desktop websites, it is important to verify the redirects are functioning correctly and being recognized by Google. Make sure the URLs are pointing to the correct corresponding mobile or desktop page.
- Irrelevant Cross-Linking: Closely related to incorrect page redirects, this problem is normally found when a business has both desktop and mobile sites. One of the biggest mistakes is pointing to an irrelevant page, like redirecting all the pages on your desktop site to the homepage on your mobile site.
- Mobile User 404 Errors: Some sites show an error only for mobile users attempting to access desktop website content. Rather than displaying this error, point the mobile user to the correct mobile-friendly page.
- Interstitials: Many businesses have their own mobile apps and make the mistake of using interstitials to block the content the user is attempting to view from their mobile device. Instead, use a banner to advertise the app without blocking the content.
- Unplayable Video Content: Certain video formats are not viewable on mobile devices. Rather than displaying an error to mobile users, convert the video using HTML5.
Identifying and correcting the above common mistakes is not difficult. Google offers tools, like Google Webmaster Tools and Google Web Designer to help ensure your website content is mobile friendly.