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Mobile Site Design is Becoming More Important to Google

BY JOSH CULVER

Do you know how to optimize your website for mobile? Learn how to improve your user experience and rank better within Google.

A message from Captain Obvious: Google is always updating its algorithm to adjust for new ranking factors. Shocking right? A company trying to improve its product.

Recently there was a blog posted on Search Engine Land that shed some light about what mobile ranking factors Google may be focusing on over the next few months. I would recommend the read, but in essence, the article focuses on mobile site design which can also be called mobile user experience (UX) soon becoming a ranking signal.

This isn't too surprising because of the emphasis that Google has put on mobile sites and mobile users over the past few years. Most people familiar in the space know that there are different ranking results if you're searching on a desktop versus searching on a mobile or tablet device.

Adding in mobile UX as a ranking factor seemed like the next logical step for Google. The site at its core has always been trying to emulate the user experience as closely as possible. That foundation, along with an increase use of searches and internet use on mobile devices, almost made it seem like a forgone conclusion.

What does this mean for you?

When it comes down to it, user experience for mobile device should already be a large part of your digital marketing strategy in 2014 and beyond. The good news is instead of launching a whole new site (which can be expensive and time-consuming) Google has offered a few items in their Google Webmaster tools package to help identify what mobile problems they made users may be experiencing.

Once logged into Webmaster Tools, you can go to Traffic > Search Traffic and the click on Mobile Usability to better understand what issues Google is noticing when you're with your mobile site. Below is a screenshot of what it looks like:

mobile usability in webmaster tools

As you can see, they list the number of problems with Mobile Usability in order. It can consist of things like ‘Viewpoint Configuration’ or ‘Touch elements too close’ meaning it can be difficult to click specific links if there are several too close to others.

You can also use Google's Page Speed analysis tool to understand what aspects of pages may be causing slow load times for desktop and mobile devices. A slow load time can hurt overall organic search rankings and by extension traffic to the site. (Below is an example from www.starbucks.com)

google moblile  page speed analysis

Hopefully this will help you better understand how mobile users are experiencing your site and what you can do to improve that experience. Feel free to contact us if you have more questions, or we also have information if you are interested in Carbon8's design for your mobile site.

Josh Culver
written by JOSH CULVER

Josh Culver is the Director of Inbound Marketing for Carbon8. With more than seven years of experience in digital marketing, Josh has been able to work on email and display projects with a recent focus in paid and organic search.

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