Fine Tuning for Mobilegeddon

It was all the buzz this month, especially on April 21st, the day Google rolled out new rules prioritizing mobile-friendly sites.

Buzz term = Mobilegeddon

Tech articles by Search Engine Land (Google: Mobile Friendly Update) and USA Today (‘Mobilegeddon’ could be bad news for 40% of top websites) had been warning about the change for weeks and months, and that day main stream media from USA Today to NPR picked up the story (link, link).

Ahhh, a …geddon that will affect my business, what should I do?

Initial Test

First, run a check https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

If you see red… click on the links that Google provides and begin learning more about what you can do.

If you see green, you’re good to go, close the browser and move on. …but wait, not so fast. I’d recommend that you take this moment to fine tune your site. Pause, and despite getting a green box, look to see if there are errors that Google is reporting. Google is providing you with information, and direct feedback at that. Many of these errors will have associated links to associated articles, go read them.

Additional Testing

Beyond the simple test above, there is much more that you can do to fine tune your site and its performance, which impacts SEO more and more.

Once you’ve done an initial check in Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test, it’s time to dig into your Webmaster Tools (now called Search Console).

  1. First, if you haven’t done so already, register all of your websites with Google’s Webmaster Tools.
  2. Look at Crawl Errors https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/crawl-errors
  3. Look at robots.txt Tester https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/robots-testing-tool
    1. Look for and test error messages from your mobile-friendly test.
    2. Is site map correctly listed with full URL?
    3. Are theme, plugin, and includes all allowed?
    4. Remove sample text line.
  4. Fetch as Google for both mobile and desktop https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/googlebot-fetch
    1. Then click on / link to see and look at error messages.
  5. Check Sitemaps and errors https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/sitemap-list
  6. Check Mobile Usability report https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-usability

Here’s a little tip about the new mobile-friendly rules – check your robots.txt file for blocking themes, plugins, etc. This used to be good practice for SEO, but now it is detrimental, Google wants to see it.

Articles

Here are some articles for further reading, and that have been very helpful.

https://yoast.com/google-panda-robots-css-js/
http://mor10.com/robots-txt-might-be-ruining-your-mobile-friendly-ranking-with-google/
http://www.searchenginejournal.com/flawed-google-mobile-usability-test-results/127623/
https://yoast.com/wordpress-robots-txt-example/

 

Leaving the question: What will it take to make my website mobile friendly? If you’re looking at a long and complicated list of cleanup tasks to fix performance and mobile-friendliness then you need to seriously reconsider the platform that your site is running on. This is one more reason that I recommend WordPress and a quality responsive theme that is supported with future releases. Not only should your task list be shorter, but it will remain shorter in the future when new technologies and Google algorithms roll out.

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