Webmasters who’ve spent months on SEO fear nothing more than Google’s next algorithm update. It’s such an important Google update that web pundits have dubbed it “Mobilegeddon.”
Why? Because if Google changes the rules about how they rank websites and deliver search results, then a site that today comes up at the top of the first screen on a search for a keyword could come up tomorrow on the third screen for the same search.
And for website traffic, the difference between winding up on screen one and screen three is like winning an all expense paid trip to Paris but then finding yourself in Paris, Texas. A nice enough place, to be sure, but no longer the top.
Forewarned and forearmed
Usually, webmasters only find out the effects of a Google algorithm change after it’s happened. But in February Google announced in advance a change that it’s planning to implement on April 21. According to the SEO experts at Yoast, that means Google thinks this particular change is a bigger deal than past changes.
Google wants you to change your website now, before you get penalized for not being ready. And the change they want you to make is to make your site more mobile friendly.
Enough with the apps already
For webmasters out there who offer a separate mobile app as an excuse to leave their main website alone for a few more years before buckling down and making it mobile responsive, this might be the time to just accept that the future is here and just make your main website more mobile friendly.
Here’s what Google will want, according to Yoast.
After you “configure” your site to “viewport” (which means to make it responsive) then make sure that buttons and other navigation elements are big enough and have enough spacing so that phone users can easily get around with their fingers without accidentally clicking on something they don’t want.
Bigger fonts and more
Then, webmasters should pay special attention to fonts:
- Use a base font size of 16 CSS pixels. Adjust the size as needed based on properties of the font being used.
- Use sizes relative to the base size to define the typographic scale.
- Text needs vertical space between its characters and may need to be adjusted for each font. The general recommendation is to use the browser default line-height of 1.2em.
- Restrict the number of fonts used and the typographic scale: too many fonts and font sizes lead to messy and overly complex page layouts.
In addition, elements like images should not be fixed width but should contract elegantly for smaller screens.
See Google’s complete guide to mobile-friendly sites and then put your site to their mobile-friendly test. If you get the response “Not mobile-friendly,” then go back and make changes until you get Google’s green light: “Awesome. This page is mobile-friendly.”
— Erik Curren, Curren Media Group