The Mobile-Friendly Checklist: Get Seen On the Go

Now that Google has officially confirmed that there are more searches on mobile than desktop, sites that aren’t mobile-friendly just won’t cut it anymore. After all, it’s bad for business — 70% of these mobile searches convert to some sort of online action within the first hour.

mobile-friendly-checklist-iconThat’s why we put together a checklist of the mobile friendly best practices (from our #MobileReady webinar) to help arm you. You can download the checklist here.

If you want to dive deeper into the checklist, you can always jump ahead in the webinar to the timestamps on this post. (For example, if you want to learn more about “optimizing images,” go to 16:52 in the webinar)

1. Ensure your organization is updated about the changes and potential impact (TC 3:04)

This is something you should always do before tackling any major SEO shift. You’ll need to manage executive expectations and put this mobile algorithm into the forefront of your boss’s mind. Remember: any mobile traffic is measurable – revenue is at risk.

2. Test your site to see whether Google views you as mobile friendly or not (TC 8:28)

Luckily for us, Google Webmaster Tools recently released an easy tool that will tell you.

Make sure to check your homepage but also your category pages, product pages, post pages – any template that you might have in your CMS. This is a daunting task, checking every single page, but Searchlight will have the feature (yes, by April 21st) to show you the pages that aren’t mobile friendly, as well as mobile-friendly insights into your competitors.

Searchlight Mobile-Friendly Feature

3. Double-check your CMS specific recommendations (TC 10:40)

Thank you, Google Gods! Google has broken out specific recommendations for popular CMS integrations, which include:

  • WordPress
  • Joomla!
  • Drupal
  • Blogger
  • vBulletin
  • Tumblr
  • DataLife Engine
  • Magento
  • Prestshop
  • Bitrix
  • Google Sites

If your CMS isn’t on the list (not listed or homegrown), take extra special care – this is telling you that Google hasn’t identified your CMS as having top importance, which might make things more difficult for you once the algorithm hits.

4. Check speed and load times (TC 16:52)

According to Google, “We must deliver and render the above the fold (ATF) content in under one second, which allows the user to begin interacting with the page as soon as possible.” That tells us that page load times is probably going to be one of the biggest factors when it comes to mobile optimization. twitter-icon

Check out Google’s Page Speed Insights to find out what on your site is rendering slowly for desktop and mobile.

PageSpeed Insights

5. Optimize your images (TC 19:50)

What usually takes the longest time to load on a phone? Images. Harking back to #4, taking care of this problem is a good way to make sure your page load times stay low.

For responsive or dynamic design, the following HTML will avoid the rendering of a large image then the resizing of it, which will just slow down your page. Instead, it’ll do so on the fly.

a) Allows for resolution thresholds:

b) Accepts relative sizes based on viewport width:img-src-tag

6. Check your redirects (TC 20:34)

If you have a mobile version of your desktop site, make sure you have a 1:1 URL relationship.

URL Redirects

To check to see what faulty redirects you might have, go to Google Webmaster Tools > Crawl > Crawl Errors > Smart Phone.

7. Ensure you haven’t blocked Java, CSS or image files (TC 22:22)

According to Google, this is especially important for mobile websites:

“If resources like JavaScript or CSS in separate files are blocked (say, with robots.txt) so that Googlebot can’t retrieve them, our indexing systems won’t be able to see your site like an average user. We recommend allowing Googlebot to retrieve JavaScript and CSS so that your content can be indexed better. This is especially important for mobile websites, where external resources like CSS and JavaScript help our algorithms understand that the pages are optimized for mobile.”

Make this part of your weekly workflow. Manage your desktop crawl errors, as well as your mobile crawl errors.

8. Check where you are sending searches (If you don’t have a mobile page, send to desktop) (TC 24:05)

404s can have a major impact on your site because you will have specific smartphone 404 issues. If you’re on a mobile site, don’t link back to your desktop (and vice versa); it’s important to keep the same user experience for your customers.

In addition, if a page on your site doesn’t have a smartphone equivalent, keep users on the desktop page. Showing the content the user was looking for is a much better experience than showing an error page.

URL Errors

9. Ensure you have proper advertising for apps (TC 25:10)

App Advertising Problems

No one loves ads but mobile ads are usually the most intrusive. Make sure to always use proper advertising techniques. Don’t have a full popup for your app or automatically force people to visit your app from your desktop site. Not only will this offer a terrible user experience, but also it will make it more difficult for Google to crawl.

10. Monitor and report fluctuations

Should be obvious, but just in case, we’re saying it again: always monitor and report fluctuations. This is important at any time for an SEO but, much more important after an algorithm change.

Need more in-depth info on getting mobile friendly? Download the Preparing for Google Mobile Algorithm Update webinar and slides.

And don’t forget this handy checklist. Print it or save it!

  • Juan V Lopez

    Such awesome tips, Esther! I’ll admit, this whole Mobilegeddon thing has me a sitting on the edge of my seat. As a digital marketer, I have a few sites where I’ve done loads of good SEO work, backlinking, short-tail keyworking, long-tail keywording, consistent content creation, etc. etc. etc. – so I’d be screwed if a Google update wiped out some of that work lol.

    Your article describes the precautionary steps to take perfectly! Thank you for taking the time to share, this was a great help.

  • Thank you very much for your great article here. I learn new things about what I have to do now about mobilegeddon. Thanks again for your great tips here.


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