How-to: Mobile-friendly Design for 'Significant Impact' on Google
Google has been including mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal for just over one month. They state that a mobile-friendly design has 'significant impact' on site ranking. If you're one of my clients, your site was designed to be mobile-friendly.
I've been using tools to create mobile-friendly sites for years. Why? Because in 2011, Google told us that with the increase in the use of smartphones by consumers, their initial research and contact with a website began on mobile around 62% of the time. It was clear to me that that number would only increase as the smartphone became ubiquitous. It has.
Google has been paying attention and now your mobile-friendly site is benefitting from these design choices even more.
In addition, Google has added more relevant app content in search results for users who have the app installed on their mobiles and are logged in. Brilliant. Very user-friendly decisions.
How to Design a Mobile-Friendly Site (in a nutshell)
Knowing if your site is mobile-friendly is more than just having your site viewable on a mobile platform. Who wants to live in finger-pinching land? Can you imagine trying to search for tonight's dinner, piecing together everything from apps to salads to entrees & dessert by having to finger-pinch your way through each decision and selection? Ugh. Use text that is readable without zooming. Using 14 px to 16 px is recommended for your site's normal text. (This article is 14 px.)
Size content to the screen to avoid users having to scroll horizontally or zoom to view and interact with your site.
Spacing Matters, Too
Mobile phone users can be "all thumbs" when it comes to interacting with elements in your site design. Be considerate, design your site with enough space between links so the correct one can be easily tapped. Phone numbers and buttons should also be of a size to be easily tapped without frustrating your users.
Unfortunately, Flash is not mobile-friendly. Interestingly, your site review using Google's Mobile-Friendly Test may show no issues with Flash. But Google spells it out in their article, "Helping users find mobile-friendly pages," that Googlebot considers Flash sites to be ineligible for the "mobile-friendly" label.
How to Know if Your Site Is Mobile-Friendly
Knowing whether your site is mobile-friendly comes down to something you've heard from me for years. SEO is more than just coding, it's creating content and designing to offer your visitors world-class customer service. We can make your site easy to find, easy to navigate, and easy for your visitors to view and read the compelling, informative content that brings them in the first place.
The trick is not just relying on Google's Mobile-Friendly Test, but also considering how your users will be interacting with your site.
Those with Google Webmaster Tools accounts can review their sites through the Mobile Usability Report. They've also created a Get Started Guide for step-based assistance.