More than half of global web traffic comes from smartphones and tablets. This is why learning how to design a website for mobile and desktop is fundamental to attracting potential customers and the reason having a mobile friendly website is a Page Experience ranking signal.
Website owners need to master how to optimize for mobile to leverage the growing number of mobile users. Adhere to the Google mobile friendly guidelines correctly, and you’ll qualify for higher rankings on Google Search results.
This process is called mobile search engine optimization or mobile SEO. If you are familiar with technical SEO, understanding how to improve mobile SEO should be simple. For anyone who isn’t a technical SEO expert, Google has you covered with complete documentation on how to optimize website for mobile and becoming Google mobile friendly.
Let’s delve into mobile search engine optimization, how to improve mobile SEO, how to measure if your website is mobile responsive, the Google mobile friendly test tool and expert Google mobile optimization techniques.
- What is a mobile friendly website?
- How to make website mobile friendly
- What is a good mobile friendly score?
- What does mobile first indexing mean?
- How to optimize website for mobile
What Is Mobile Friendly?
Google mobile friendly is when your site is “readable and immediately usable” on mobile devices, according to the standards of the Google mobile friendly update. The goal is to make it easy for all customers to find what they need, whether on desktop or mobile.
A website without mobile SEO may have heavy blocks of text and incorrectly sized images when viewed on mobile — what Google considers a poor user experience (UX).
Why Mobile Friendly Matters to
Google Page Experience Ranking Factors
Knowing how to design a website for mobile and desktop and implementing Google mobile friendly guidelines improves your UX. The Page Experience update sees a mobile friendly website as a better site, and more so when optimized for Core Web Vitals, Safe Browsing, HTTPS and no intrusive interstitials.
Mobile First Indexing
When talking about Google mobile optimization, we have to mention mobile first indexing. You’ve probably heard of Google mobile first indexing but are still asking, “What does mobile first indexing mean?” You’re not alone — even a technical SEO expert might still have questions about this fairly recent change.
What does mobile first indexing mean for website owners and how does the mobile first indexing update relate to the Google mobile friendly update?
Here’s the rundown:
- Google mobile first indexing is an update to how Google chooses the content to include in its index or information bank.
- The expectation behind mobile first indexing is that your mobile content is concise and straightforward to suit the limitations of a smaller screen.
- If your site has a desktop version and a mobile version, Google prioritizes indexing your mobile version.
Why Google Mobile Friendly Is Critical for
Many technical SEO services providers and responsive web design professionals saw a 40 percent drop in traffic when the Google Page Layout algorithm update was first implemented. This is because of too many ads that prevented users from receiving a better experience.
Why your website must be optimized for mobile:
- Without a mobile optimized website, you exclude or limit access for users who prefer browsing on mobile.
- Your Search rankings will suffer without mobile search optimization.
- The Google mobile friendly update strengthens your position for Google Mobile First Indexing.
- Failing to make website mobile friendly shows you don’t prioritize UX on mobile and your content won’t be indexed as well as a mobile friendly site would.
- When you follow Google mobile friendly guidelines, you are already on the right side of mobile first indexing.
How to Measure Mobile Friendliness
You need a benchmark before you can begin to make website mobile friendly. Google makes it easy to know how to measure if your website is mobile friendly with a Google developers mobile friendly test.
Google Mobile Friendly Test
Use the Google developers mobile friendly test in 3 simple steps:
- Enter the URL or code on which you want to run a mobile friendly test
- View your Google mobile friendly test result
The Google developers mobile friendly test was designed to be simple enough for anyone to understand. With the Google mobile friendly test tool, your page either passes the mobile friendly test or not.
Here’s what else the Google mobile friendly test tool offers:
- You gain insight into your mobile friendly site status and where your mobile search engine optimization efforts stand.
- The mobile friendly website test indicates any page loading issues that affect how Google sees your page even if you pass the mobile friendly site test.
- If you fail, the mobile friendly website test tool provides information on the mobile SEO or technical SEO issues that stand out.
The Google mobile friendly test examines individual pages, but you can use the Mobile Usability report found in Google Search Console to check the status of your entire site.
Google has recently added a Page Experience report to Google Search Console that consolidates your site’s status for the different Page Experience signals. The report will show the number of URLs in your site that are “Failing” mobile usability or give you a “Good” status if you have zero mobile usability errors.
The Page Experience report shows the percentage of mobile URLs offering a good page experience. For a URL to be included in this count, it needs to have a “Good” status for both Core Web Vitals and mobile usability. Be aware that Google noted slight delays in importing data from the Mobile Usability report into the Page Experience report, which may cause a lag in the evaluation of a specific URL for Page Experience.
What Is a Good Mobile Friendly Score?
We know how to measure if your website is mobile friendly through the mobile friendly website test and mobile usability report, but what is a good mobile friendly score?
The mobile friendly test doesn’t actually give a specific score.
You need to address the mobile search optimization issues and get closer to successfully make website mobile friendly.
Keep in mind that the Google mobile friendly update prioritizes UX and this should always be the guiding light on how to design a website for mobile and desktop or how to make existing website mobile responsive.
How to Improve Mobile Friendliness
A mobile search optimization strategy makes your site fully accessible and seamless for all users. While the mobile friendly test is simple, taking action and becoming mobile responsive requires a more advanced approach.
Working with a technical SEO agency places your site in the best position for the Page Experience update. Getting technical SEO services would speed up the process significantly, but you need a thorough understanding of how to improve mobile SEO to benefit from it.
The most common mobile SEO page issues are that the content is hard to read on mobile, the page loads too slowly and there are too many technical errors. With these in mind, we can dig deeper into how to optimize website for mobile.
Whether you need to know how to make an existing website mobile friendly or need to start from scratch with how to make a mobile version of your website, we’re here to guide you.
To start with, make sure to:
- Gain a thorough understanding of how to improve mobile SEO
- Work with a technical SEO agency to set your website up for success when the Page Experience update lands
- You employ technical SEO services can speed up your process significantly
How to Make Website Mobile Friendly
Here are expert tips on how to make an existing website mobile friendly using responsive web design principles and Google resources:
Set the Viewport
A viewport is the web page area visible on the screen and varies depending on the device. Set your viewport correctly so your page adapts to your user’s screen size. The meta viewport tag tells the browser how to adjust the dimensions and scaling of the page to the width of the device.
Google advises adding a meta tag to the head of the document to signal to browsers that your page adapts to all devices:
Adjust Your Content
Once your viewport has been set, you need to make your content responsive. Along with the page size, make sure your images, layout and text correctly adapt to all devices. The max-width CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) property sets the maximum width of an element. It prevents the used value of the width property from becoming larger than the value specified by max-width:
Monitor Your Site Speed
Internet users demand lightning-fast page speeds and will exit your page otherwise. Use the Google website speed test or PageSpeed Insights to improve your site speed. Make sure your Google website speed test score stays at 100 or as close to 100 as possible, both on desktop and mobile.
Audit Your Site Regularly
Becoming Google mobile friendly isn’t a one-time task (and ideally, not a one-person task). Technical SEO services exist to monitor and audit your site’s mobile friendliness. With a technical SEO expert on your side conducting continuous site audits and ensuring you pass the Google website speed test, you’ll be well-positioned to succeed.
Make UX Improvements
You need to evaluate your UX (with special attention to mobile and technical SEO) from your user’s perspective. Increase text size, add a search bar and adjust the spacing on call-to-action (CTA) buttons to improve your UX. Make use of website traffic and analytics data to test the effectiveness of your changes.
If you’re starting from scratch and wondering how to make a mobile version of your website, any leading technical SEO agency (and Google) would tell you to stick to responsive web design. Instead of learning how to make a mobile version of your website, have your site adapt to the user by optimizing for mobile friendliness.
In line with Google’s commitment to customer-centricity and excellent UX, a mobile-optimized website is prioritized in search rankings.
Now that you know how to make a mobile version of your website and how to make website mobile friendly, you need to act on it quickly before the Page Experience update in mid-June 2021.
Our technical SEO agency spent last several months improving our Page Experience ranking signals. Call our technical SEO agency at 866.908.4748 or fill out our contact form to find out how to improve your mobile friendliness with the right technical SEO services for your website.