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Today’s the day that local businesses have been dreading; Google begins globally rolling out their mobile-friendly update. Starting April 21st, mobile-friendly websites – ones equipped with easily clickable links and text that resizes to fit the screen it’s viewed on, among other features — will rank higher than sites that aren’t mobile-friendly when users search for something from a smartphone or tablet.
Google is doing this because it wants consumers to “find content that’s not only relevant and timely, but also easy to read and interact with on the smaller mobile screens,” Google said in a statement.
What does this mean for your small business? Frustration, possible tears, and staring at code if you aren’t a professional designer or have one on staff.
Listen to Kathleen explain what small business owners should know about web design
In honor of the big changes coming to Google and how it will affect local businesses, today’s podcast is dedicated to web design tips, common web design misconceptions, and what mobile-friendly design means.
Does the mobile-friendly update affect local business websites?
No matter what type of business you own, local or a well-known brand, if the website’s pages aren’t mobile-friendly, there may be a significant decrease in mobile traffic from Google Search. Although Google assures on their blog that once your site becomes mobile-friendly, Google will automatically re-process your pages.
However, these changes aren’t nearly a doomsday prophecy as many articles would have you believe. The mobile-friendly update includes the following changes:
- Affect your search rankings on mobile devices
- Search results are affected in all languages around the world
- Only applies to individual pages, not entire websites
The official announcement on Google’s blog shared several resources that local businesses can use to check if their site is mobile-friendly. If you need to examine individual pages, use the Mobile-Friendly Test or check the status of your entire site through the Mobile Usability report in Webmaster Tools.
Improve your website’s design today
The key elements, like logo, navigation bars, content, footer content and other elements should be implemented at proper position, so that the users can easily understand what the website is all about.
While we’re at it, we want to mention that if you are creating a website, it is essential to include images there. However, if you have too many images that are large or in the wrong format, it can slow down your website’s loading speed. This is terrible for both mobile-users and people that visit your website from their desktop!
Imagery enhances the user experience. Be sure to use the right format for the image. There might be multiple options, such as:
- Scaleable Vector Graphics (.SVG)
- Portable Network Graphics (.PNG)
- Graphic Interchange Format (.GIF)
- Weppy (.WEBP)
- Joint Photographic Experts Group (.JPEG or .JPG)
No matter which format you use, you will need to optimize the image for the web and compress it to ensure that it loads properly and fast.
What if you don’t pass the Google Mobile Friendly test?
If you can’t get this done by today, no need to panic! Most local businesses are found these days through directory services like Yelp and Google’s local search listings. Local listings show up first instead of your website. Double check that all of your local business information is current and up-to-date in Yelp and on Google’s MyBusiness section.
We do recommend that you update your website design to mobile-friendly as soon as possible to save your website’s current rankings by finding a professional designer to help you.