Redmarlin - Blog

Category: Web Optimization
  • Mobile design and Google search results

    Being mobile ready can affect positively your SEO

    The mobile web market is growing amazingly fast and website owners try to go ahead and adapt their sites for mobile users. But in the near future being mobile reday won’t mean being ahead, it will be simply essential for your web presence. Well, in fact it is already happening, you don’t have to wait for the future. Mostly because you need to be able to serve new customers, but there is also another aspect of being mobile friendly which is often overlooked and can be crucial for your bussines. Being mobile friendly directly affects your position in Google searches (SEO).

    In November 2014 Google announced that it will add a special tag to all websites adapted to mobiles, a “Mobile-friendly” label.

    Google Official Blog

    Google mobile search Source: Google Official Blog

    But that’s not all, Google is experimenting with using mobile-friendly criteria to rank your site. In other words, being mobile-friendly will affect your google search ranking.

    According to Google, a webpage is eligible for this label if it meets the following requirements:

    -” Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash”

    – “Uses text that is readable without zooming”

    – “Sizes content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom”

    – “Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped”

    Google also provides site owners with a tool where you can check if your site is currently meeting those conditions.

    Google Mobile-Frinedly Test

    Google Optimization tool

    If your site is mobile friendly then you will see green texts saying everything is OK*like on the pic above). If not you will receive some tips how to make your site better.

    The speed IS important

    There are many articles stressing the importance of speed in web design, especially in mobile world. Google also takes that into account (this mechanism is already implemented into Google algorythm) in its ranking mechanism. Pages that open faster and are better optimized will score higher in Google searches.

    Again, there is a tool from Google to check how your page is doing in terms of optimization, user experience and speed. It is a good thing to score high, but you don’t need to worry too much about all the tips and fixes proposed by Google. Those certainly will make your site Google bot friendly but it will sometimes hinder the user experience which is by far the most important thing.

    Google mobile ready test

    As a general rule, it is good to score in green range of points (aprox. 90 out of 100) to make sure it will affect your GOOGLE SEO positively.

    Google Speed Insights

    Also it is a good habit to compare Google test results with other tools of this type, just to name a few that are the most usefull:

    Web Page Test
    GT Metrix

    Choose your developer carefully

    I will use a short Google article about making better mobile ready websites as a pretext to highlight 2 important aspects of web designing. One of those articles has 6 pieces of advice for finding a good developer to ensure high quality and mobile readiness of a site.

    What should I think about when working with a developer – by GOOGLE

    Most of the tips are nothing new and are really common sense, like: make sure to hire a developer with experience in mobile web design, make sure he understands mobile world, make him install measurement and analitics tools etc.

    But there are two points that are the most important. Google doesn’t enter deep into the subject so I would like to explain those 2 concepts mentioned by Google a little bit more (points 3 and 6 of the above-linked article).

    Google developer guides Source: Google Site Insights

    Web page speed is crucial, not only for your SEO ranking.

    Developers are often so concerned about the design, look and feel of the pagethat they tend to completely forget that SPEED is a very important part of user experience. If the page doesn’t open fast enough, all those bells and whistles won’t serve their purpose. The visitor, discouraged by how slow the site opens, will leave even before trying or seeing them.

    So yes, speed is important and make sure that the team your are hiring not only has a developer who can make fast and optimalized web apps, but also a good sysadmin that can tune the server to ensure a maximum performance for this specific web page.

    The site is not a finished product, it needs to evolve constantly.

    While speeding up the websites is gaining more and more supporters and many articles have been written about it recently, this aspect remains rather unknown to the general public. In a world where technology changes so quickly, there is no such thing as 100% complete/finished web page. A web page is not a book that, once finished, you can put on display and forget about it. Websites need to be constantly adapted to changing technologies, user needs and expectations.

    That’s why it is important to listen to your customers and analize web page statistics. You should CONsTANTLY IMPROVE your web page in order to deliver the best experience possible. Don’t forget that in many cases your company’s web page is the first encounter point for your clients. They will get to know you by your web page, they will judge your bussines by how your page works and how it looks.

    Besides, manitaining and upgrading web pages on a regular basis makes it easier, faster and less expensive to adapt to a constantly changing world. It is better to give one small step at a time than to have rebuild your web site every few years from scratch, and it gives you a website that is always up-to-date, not only every now and then.

    Listening and taking your clients’ feedback into account will not only let you make the web page a better experience for them, discover their needs or anticipate the market demand, it will also cause you’ll be closer to your customers, it will help engage with them and build a community around your business.

    To sum up, being mobile friendly is a must-be for any company now, as not only will it reach customers using mobile devices but it will also add “points” to your Google search ranking. Besides, being mobile means being FAST – optimizing your site for speed is as important as having great responsive design, or even more important. You also should not forget that a website is not a finished product and it should constantly evolve to match your client changing preferences.

    If you need a mobile friendly website/online store that is optimized for speed Contact us for a free quote

    What’s more, it looks like our own philosophy of constantly growing websites matches perfectly Google tips for site owners!

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  • A follow up on Google mobile friendly ranking change

    Here is a follow-up on Google new mobile-friendly algorithm that will roll out on April 21.

    Few days a go (on Wednesday, March 24) Google hosted a hangout on their official Google webmasters page. Google shed some light or better said clarified some points about new algorithm’s implementation planned on April 21.

    First of all, they confirmed that the update will affect all languages, but the changes won’t be global immediately. To update all languages it will take a few days to a week.

    Google also confirmed that this is an important update and a significant ranking change. But this change wont affect desktop users. It will only be applied to searches conducted from mobile phones.

    But taking into account that mobile traffic is about 30% of all global internet traffic and that users often enter from their mobile phone and then switch to desktop if they like the site or online shop, you can’t really just ignore this change or care only about desktop anymore.

    As for the mobile-friendliness factor, there won’t be any page rank points for being more mobile friendly than others. Either you are mobile friendly (and score higher in mobile searches) or you are not mobile friendly (and score lower). Also the algorithm will check page by page on your site and each mobile-friendly page will receive a badge and score higher. It is not site based but page based.

    People from Google webmaster department also confirmed once again and named all the things you need to do to be mobile friendly.Those guidelines are numbered on their Mobile-friendliness test tool and the general rule is that if the page gets the green light in this tool it is prepared for the algorithm change. So if you get a green light in this tool you are OK.

    A list of those mobile friendly factors that Google will have in mind for giving you mobile-friendly badge as stated during hangout are:

    – Are all links well separated so that clicking on them is easy?

    – Is your font size big enough to read comfortably on small devices?

    – Is your page width adapted to mobile device screen (that means no zooming or horizontal scrolling to use the page)?

    – Is your page using technology not supported on many mobile devices (flash is a big no-no)?

    As a side note here, Google confirmed that it is using the speed of site opening as a ranking factor from some time now as this is one of the crucial factors for being mobile and in general visitor friendly.

    Google webmaster department staff also stressed out during their hangout that the most important thing is to be user friendly, think about usability and have an up-to-date site, then you don’t need to worry about algorithm updates – neither this one nor the future ones as Google always strives to promote sites that are user friendly and easily usable and that users will love. Well, this is not always true as Google sometimes arbitrarily picks controversial factors for their pager ranking mechanism. But as a general rule, if your site is made with its visitors in mind (and well prepared for all different devices) you shouldn’t have major problems with new Google ranking mechanism.

    When talking about usability, it is good to mention that while Google denied that in the coming algorithm change they will penalize pages that have annoying features for users like whole page adds popups or videos that autoplay when you enter the age, they did mention that those issues could be addressed in future algorithm changes as they are constantly improving the page ranking systems and fine tuning them.

    So the main thought that people from webmasters department are sending to site owners and developers is: be user friendly, think about your visitors and make your sites better for them.

    To sum up, there were no big coming outs or secrets revealed in this hangout, but rather some additional clarifications and more detailed explanations of what we heard before.

    So be prepared!

    Apply for our free web analysis and check not only if your site is mobile friendly according to latest Google changes, but also see how your site is doing in many other ways like speed, security, marketing etc.

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  • Get ready for April 21, 2015 Google mobile “doomsday” is coming

    A couple of weeks ago Google announced that on 21st of April it will upgrade its algorithm to consider mobile-readiness when ranking website position in search results. In other words, starting from April 21, 2015, websites that are not adapted to mobile devices will drop in search results.

    What is this Google algorithm anyway?

    Google search engine algorithm is a program that decides how high a web page should be shown in the search results for a given keyword. Establishing accurately if the web page is fit to be shown for those keywords is a complex task.

    Google algorithm takes into account many things like site content, links leading to this page and those links’ titles, images, social media and even page load speed.

    Normally, Google tends to update its algorithm constantly, with major changes taking place once a year or two. All of those mayor changes are feared by SEO specialists and aware sites owners as often they mean changes and risk of loosing well established position. Especially if there is a lot of competition in your sector.

    Google search algorithm at work Google search engine algorithm at work.

    More about April 21 update

    This time the Google algorithm update is all about mobile. No wonder, almost 30% of global internet traffic is from mobile devices and mobile share is growing fast. Google partially revealed what will be taken into account while checking for mobile-readiness. All those things are centered around usability:

    How fast the page opens on often limited mobile connections, is the website usable without zooming and scrolling horizontally, are all links made the way it is easy to click on them with your finger, does the site use technology that mobiles are not able to display (for example flash) etc. In other words, the algorithm will check all the things that most mobile users find annoying and it will assign your site a score. What impact will this mobile score have on the overall page rank is still unknown, but we can guess it will be important as Google went as far as issuing an official statement warning about those changes (Statement on official Google blog).

    How does it concern me?

    What it means for website owners is that they hard worked position in search results will start falling if their site is doesn’t meet the new criteria. Worse search results mean less visits, less clients and less conversions. Nobody can afford that. Most probably, your site or shop won’t loose its position from one day to another, but it will rather start slowly falling to the bottom. But while getting demoted in search results is easy, going up is really difficult. Of course you can always just ignore Google new algorithm and suggestions, but it is just a matter of time that you will be struck hard. Like we mentioned above, more and more people use mobiles to browse internet and while it is true that potentially they could view many NON-mobile ready pages by horizontal scrolling and zooming, in fact they are not very likely to do that because they simply find it annoying and time-consuming. Most users prefer purchasing from mobile-friendly sites and in most cases there is always some competitor that is offering this possibility. So sooner or later you will start loosing clients if you don’t adapt to new technology.

    As for the solution, depending on how well your site is designed and maintained (updated), you would need either small fixes or to have your whole web redesigned to align with those demands.

    How would I know if my site is mobile friendly?

    If you are unsure about whether your page is or is not mobile ready, Google has provided a tool to do that.

    Google is your site ombile friendly test

    Google mobile-friendliness check tool in action

    In a clear way it will show you if your site is adapted to mobiles and what it’s lacking. If you are in green just like us then it is all OK. But if you are in yellow or red there are things you need to change.

    You can also get our free web page analysis and check your page in more details to see what changes does it need.

    The new design

    If a new design is the only option for your site / shop, the best practice is to make sure it will adapt to most of future devices without a hassle, using Responsive Design.

    So don’t loose your time, don’t risk your position. Check your website and start preparing for a new design for you website. You should always try to be ahead of the competition anyway!

    And dont forget to apply for free web page analysis :)

    Update – 27 MArch 2015
    Google hosted a Hangout few days ago to explain in more details some of the aspects of its new mobile friendly algorithm.
    See our follow up on this topic

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