How to Make your Website More Mobile Friendly

October 2016

The number of mobile internet users has been increasing over the years, hence the need for websites to become "mobile-friendly". However, this is not the only justification: since April 2015, it has also become a major criterion for SEO on Google.

For a website to become "mobile friendly" there are several requirements that must be met:

What is a "mobile-friendly" webiste?

The term "mobile-friendly" applies to websites that can be viewed and accessed from a mobile device (natively supported by smartphone or tablet). These are websites that offer a good browsing experience to mobile users.
Here's what Google considers as being a mobile friendly:
  • Avoid the use of incompatible Flash content.
  • Text must be readable - without the need for users to zoom in.
  • The conten must automatically to fit the size of the screen (avoid horizontal scrolling)
  • Links must be large and spaced enough so that the user can click without error.

Several techniques can be adopted to make your website more mobile friendly:
  • Get a mobile version of the website - Mobile users are automatically redirected to the mobile version of the website.
  • Opt for a responsive design website.
  • Update the CMS (Joomla, Wordpress ...).

Mobile compatibility also represent several challenges for site publishers. They need to follow the new habits of Internet users and adapt the evolution of SEO techniques.

"Mobile Friendly": the stakes for site publishers

Responding to new habits of Internet users

According to a survey conducted by French Médiamétrie, 55.7% of French users connect to the internet using their mobile device, namely on commercial websites. Médiamétrie estimates that the share of mobile users on these media increased from 32.5 to 43.5%. Internet users prefer a nomadic access. The proposed content should be in line with the expectations of mobile users and their new browsing habits. A mobile friendly website, should:
  • Promote usability: content size, font size, window display ...
  • Avoid useless interactions of the pop-up type.

Improve the visibility of your website on Google

Since April 2015, Google changed its algorithm. The search engine wants to give more visibility to websites that can be natively accessed by mobile terminals. Google also announced that sites that do not have a label "mobile-friendly" may be impacted negatively on their SEO. This is a major development for Google, that aims to encourage the amateur and professional site publishers to decline their platform in a mobile version.
  • Better positioning in search results for websites considered as "mobile-friendly"
  • Users are notified about the existence of a mobile version of the website.

The term "mobilegeddon" was mentioned by SEO professionals. In the few days that followed the introduction of this new algorithm, the SEO of several website was impacted. The French (-10.9%) and (-25.7%).
Source: blog.yooda
Google Webmaster Tools provides an online tool to test the compatibility of a mobile website.
Perform the test online:

How to make your website mobile friendly

A mobile version of the website

An alternate website designed to be viewed from a mobile device. The url is usually preceded by an "m.".

  • The interface is specific to mobile browsing,
  • The content can be specific to mobile users, different from the "desktop" version: products, catalog ...

  • The development of a new site involves extra costs.
  • This requires new SEO actions to position the mobile site within mobile search results.
  • Any content copied from the the "desktop" version of the website can result in a penalty from Google.

The responsive design website

The responsive design uses CSS3 properties to adapt the website to different screen resolutions. The columns and images are automatically adjusted and resized according to the resolution of the device.

  • The structure and contents of the site are similar to the "desktop" version.
  • The URLs are the same, which avoids duplication of contents.
  • The development cost is less important than a dedicated mobile site.

  • The large images can slow navigation.
  • The mobile display should be checked and reworked to avoid any adjustment error (Avoid the use of large images that require a horizontal scroll and complicated navigation paths).

Learn more about responsive design: advantages and disadvantages.

Content management systems

Most content management systems provide support for mobile version of websites, either in their latest updates or through the installation of a dedicated extension.
Compatibility can be verified using the Google Webmaster Tools:
Image © - Grudig

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