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On April 21, Google Starts to Use Mobile-Friendliness to Rank Websites

screen with google logo next to a graphic reading "mobilegeddon"

Since the advent of smart phones, having a mobile-friendly website was a “nice to have.” This changes on April 21, 2015, when Google expands its use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.

According to a recent Google blog post:

“This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

[sws_pullquote_right]For more information:

Why Your Law Firm Website Needs Responsive Web Design[/sws_pullquote_right]

In other words, if your website is not mobile-friendly, expect to lose a significant amount of traffic that comes from your mobile users, because your site will be punished in mobile search rankings.

On the other hand, if you have a responsive website that resizes itself to fit cell phone, tablet and desktop devices, expect a nice boost in searches that are made on smart phones. This is extremely important because:

  • 60 percent of online traffic now comes from mobile devices.
  • 45% of law firm traffic comes from from mobile devices, according to a 2014 LawLytics study of 733,346 visits across randomly-selected law firm websites

Get ready for the change

Google is already labeling law firm websites as being “mobile friendly,” and it rewards them with a ranking boost.

To get help with making a mobile-friendly site, check out Google’s guide to mobile-friendly sites. If you’re a webmaster, you can get ready for this change by using the following tools to see how Googlebot views your pages:

  • Find out whether your site is mobile-friendly here.
  • If you have a site, you can use your Webmaster Tools account to get a full list of mobile usability issues across your site using the Mobile Usability Report.

Unfriendly and friendly

Needless to say, now is the time to check if your website is mobile-friendly, and if it is not, to make it so.

Highlights of a mobile unfriendly site:

  • Entire website shrunk onto a 3-inch screen
  • No images
  • Can’t read the text
  • Can’t make out the logo
  • Links are too small to click with a fingertip
  • Long paragraphs of text
  • No clear way to connect with anyone

Highlights of a mobile friendly site:

  • Big buttons
  • Click to call
  • Click to email or text
  • Single column layout
  • Large links that are easy to click with a finger
  • Interactive map button
  • Easy drop-down navigation
  • A “mobile moment” or branding experience.

For more information:

Read: Why Your Law Firm Website Needs Responsive Web Design

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