Why MSPs should care about Google’s “Mobilegeddon”

Posted by Sarah Duffy on Apr 21, 2015 4:38:00 PM

Google_Mobile_Friendly_TestToday, Google rolled out its new mobile-friendly update, and headlines are full of news of this so-called “mobilegeddon” and how it could be bad news for businesses that aren’t prepared.

Silly nicknames aside, this does represent an important change that MSPs need to be aware of, both for themselves and for their SMB customers. But it’s not quite the end of the world.

What does mobile-friendly mean?

According to Google’s Webmaster Central Blog, the goal of this update is improve mobile search results by rewarding pages deliver a good experience on a mobile device. This includes:

  • Text that is easy to read without zooming
  • Appropriately spaced tap targets
  • Avoiding unplayable content and horizontal scrolling

Having relevant content still matters, but the updates rolled out today could start having a noticeable impact on mobile search results in the next week or two.

How do I know if my site is mobile-friendly?

To find out if your site will be affected, start by taking Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. All you have to do is plug in the URL of the site you want to test, and the tool will quickly tell you if the site is mobile-friendly. If it’s not, it will give you a checklist of issues you need to address, such as text that is too small, links that are too close together, or content this wider than the screen.

I also recommend checking Google Analytics to see how much of your traffic currently comes from mobile devices. Simply navigate to the Overview in the Mobile section of the Audience metrics. This breakdown of visits from computers, mobile devices, and tablets will help you decide how much of a priority making your more mobile-friendly should be.

How does the change affect my customers?

If you’re an MSP that doesn’t get a lot of traffic from mobile search results or your site is already mobile friendly, you might not be concerned about this Google update. But you should be concerned about how it will affect your SMB customers.

According to a report by comScore, 60 percent of all digital traffic comes from smartphones and tablets. Think about the types of businesses your customers run and how their customers interact with them. Whether they’re medical practices, retail stores, or banks, odds are a significant portion of the traffic to their site comes from mobile devices, so they could see a significant decrease in traffic from search results soon.

Use this change as an opportunity to help your customers. Test their websites, and then have a conversation with the ones that don’t pass the test about some simple changes you can make to help them address the problem.

How to make your site (or a customer’s) more mobile-friendly

Luckily, it only takes a few simple changes to make a site more mobile-friendly.

  1. Add a viewpoint. A viewpoint tells a browser that the page should be scaled to fit the screen, whether it’s being viewed on a smartphone, a tablet, or a computer. To set a viewpoint, you just need to add one line of code inside the head tag.
  2. Increase the font size. Readable text is an important part of being mobile-friendly, so make sure the font size on the page is at least 18 pixels.
  3. Fix blocked JavaScript or blocked image files. Use the Fetch as Google tool in Google’s Webmaster Tools to see if there are any issues such as blocked JavaScript, CSS, or image files that could make the site render poorly on a mobile device. Then fix any potential issues.

Google’s search algorithms are constantly changing, so as an MSP, it’s important to keep up on issues like this, both for your own business and your customers. 

 

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