You are hiking in a meadow filled with brilliant wildflowers when you spy a butterfly.
Not sure if it’s a Painted Lady or a Monarch, you grab your phone and Google Monarch butterfly. First thing that appears is Monarchs, then Monarch butterfly and before you know it, the butterfly flutters off.
Whether it’s trying to look up a restaurant, a business or family friendly dogs, it often seems the search engines find everything but what you want. Or once you find what you want, trying to get to the page is extremely slow. Recently, a friend of mine was trying to check the score of the Wisconsin vs. Duke NCAA men’s basketball game on her cell phone. Because there was so much demand for information from the ESPN site, it was like a traffic jam with cars inching forward every few minutes. It took at least 45 seconds for the page to refresh.
The truth is more people are using their mobile devices to search for information. We can be anywhere from a meadow to a coffee shop looking up information. And since we aren’t the only ones, our mobile devices can be slow to retrieve what we are searching for.
On April 21, Google is making two significant changes to make your cell phone retrieve more mobile-friendly content and be faster at doing so. Goggle is making algorithm changes to make mobile devices more user friendly.
The first change is Google will have more mobile friendly websites in search results, resulting in higher quality searches making it easier for users to find what they are looking for on their device. According to a Google Webmaster Central Blog, to receive help making your mobile-friendly site, check out its guide to mobile-friendly sites.
For webmaster, you can prepare for the change by using the following tools to see how Googlebot views your pages:
If you want to test a few pages, you can use the Mobile-Friendly Test.
- 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.
It’s important to note the changes Google is making mean different things for different people. If you are user, then it’s good news because you will be receiving the information you are seeking faster.
If you are a webmaster, then you are going to have to do some work on the webpages you to convert them to mobile friendly.
According to Google, here are some things to consider when converting a page from being seen on a computer to a mobile device:
Here is an overview of each:
- Unplayable content: This consists of certain types of videos, or other content, that are not playable on mobile devices, such as license-constrained media or media that requires Flash.
- Faulty redirects: If you have separate mobile URLs, you must redirect mobile users on each desktop URL to the appropriate mobile URL.
- Mobile-only 404s: Some sites serve content to desktop users accessing a URL but show an error page to mobile users. Instead, redirect mobile users to an equivalent mobile page to avoid 404s.
- App download interstitials: This is when websites block the view of pages with a prompt to download the site’s native app. Instead, use a small HTML banner at the top of the page.
- Irrelevant cross-links: This is when users are linked to desktop-optimized pages from the mobile version of the site, and vice versa. Check your links to make sure that they point to the correct equivalent page.
- Slow mobile pages: In order to avoid user frustration, ensure your mobile pages load quickly. You can check your page speed with Google PageSpeed Insights.
Because what is happening is new, there are still many questions that need to be addressed. As you know, I am all for using the Internet to market your business whether it is with a blog or website. But more importantly, I also want to make sure any information a business puts out there is safe. There is a lot of chatter around the Internet if Google’s new changes can unlock the doors on secure information. This is something we all need to look into.
As a webpage designer and master, I like many others want to keep up with the constant changes in technology. Google’s announcement is likely to bring other changes along the way from other companies.
It’s important for us all to keep the balance of keeping up and providing information to users in a timely and accurate manner while also making sure we aren’t opening the flood gates.