MacAdam Lea
By MacAdam Lea | SEM, Web Dev | July 7, 2015

How to use the Mobile Friendly Update

At the end of April, Google rolled out its long-discussed “Mobile-Friendly Update”, which boosts the ad ranking of any mobile-friendly pages on mobile search results. Google’s top priority is keeping searches relevant, so they have a vested interest in making sure that the site they’re linking to can actually run on the mobile device viewing it. This can mean one of two things for your website:

  1. You’re already running Responsive Design or an Mobile Website and you have nothing to worry about. You’ll be getting a nice boost to your mobile ad rankings, and your Quality Scores should increase over time.
  2. Your website isn’t mobile friendly due to a lack of Responsive Design and can’t effectively show your content on mobile devices. You’ll find it increasingly expensive to compete with other mobile-friendly ads and will be forced to pay a higher Cost Per Click due to decreasing Quality Scores.

If you want to check whether or not your website is mobile-friendly you can follow this Link and take the Mobile-Friendly Test. Simply type your website into the search bar, click Analyze, and Google will check your site to see if it passes. Below you can see an example of Digital Reach Agency’s test results where we passed with flying colors:

And the Test results of the Rhode Island College Campus Store, which didn’t fare quite as well:

Notice how the Mobile-Friendly Test actually provides the reasons why the RIC site didn’t pass. The text was too small to read, and everything just got cluttered together on the smaller phone screen due to a lack of Responsive Design or a designated mobile URL. It also provides several useful links if you built the website yourself and want to try and upgrade it on your own. You can also use this site to check the status of other businesses in your market to see if they’re mobile-friendly or not.

These issues can be very expensive to fix if you need to hire a third party to rebuild your website. Reworking a whole website to run on multiple platforms is also a huge time investment for any in-house web development team, so either way it can be a tough pill to swallow. Unfortunately numbers show that if you want your business to be competitive online being mobile-friendly is becoming a necessity.

As of 2015, over 50% of all online traffic takes place on mobile devices, and that rate keeps climbing as time goes by. This isn’t to say that you can’t still perform well running ads for desktop computers, but if you aren’t mobile-friendly you’re automatically missing on a huge portion of your potential clicks and conversions. If you find that your site isn’t set up for mobile traffic, I recommend that you closely examine your mobile settings over the next few months. If the Cost Per Click becomes too expensive you can always reduce bids on mobile traffic specifically, or just turn of mobile bids entirely.

At the end of the day, how you run your site is up to you, but keep in mind that providing the customer with the best possible online experience leads to more traffic and a higher conversion rate. Ignoring a poor implementation of mobile-friendly web design won’t cause the issues to go away; mobile traffic increases every year and the problem will just keep getting worse.

So get your sites updated, and I’ll PP-See you all next time!

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