The Procrastinator’s #Mobilegeddon Survival Guide

“Does It Matter?”: What #Mobilegeddon Means to Fortune 500 companies
April 13, 2015
The Secret to Double (Almost) Conversions: Online Video Marketing
May 6, 2015

We can’t ever put into words how important the webmaster guidelines are for every single SEO out there. It’s like the Bible. Do everything in it and you’re ensured entry into the high heavens (see: rankings). If you don’t, then it’s ranking hell for you. The only difference is: in the Holy Bible you’re not allowed to add or take anything away.

But with the Google Webmaster guidelines, it’s in a constant state of flux—updates are a norm, even an expected occurrence. That’s why it should always be monitored. Like this one for example: an impending major algo update, affectionately called Mobilegeddon, was announced by Google stating: “Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”

By my watch that’s T-minus 96 hours or 4 days to be exact. Have you readied your sites yet? You better be, because sites that aren’t mobile-friendly risk suffering major penalties in ranking.

If you haven’t, try to ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I have difficulty coping with change?
  • Am I almost always late?
  • Do I focus on menial stuff rather than the high-priorities?

If you answered everything with a resounding “yes”, well, congratulations! You’re a full-fledged procrastinator!

But don’t fret. Help is on the way! Here at BuiltBySF, we always have your back.

Therefore, we proudly present: the complete procrastinator’s guide to surviving Google’s Mobilegeddon with 5 slacker-friendly tactics to prepare you for Google’s Mobile SEO update in less than a week.

Run some tests.

In our previous entry, we already discussed how Fortune 500 companies prepared for Mobilegeddon. A good majority of them, especially those in the Top 100, have already done their homework by running a test on one of the simpler and useful tools available: Google’s own Mobile-Friendly Test.

bsf mobile friendliness test

It feels good to be Mobilegeddon Ready.

 

Aside from this, there are also other ways to measure your website’s mobile readiness:

  • Test it on your mobile devices.
    Make sure that when you test your website; use every conceivable screen size on every OS. The responsiveness varies from screen to screen. Knowing this can help you plan if you should accommodate every mobile screen in the market or optimize for the majority of your frequent visitors.
  • Run emulators on your browser.
    A cost-effective way to test for mobile-responsiveness is to run free online web apps that simulate mobile devices right on your browser. One of the more popular ones is mobile.me. There’s also responsivedesignsimulator.com and ipadpeek.com.
  • Enable Device Mode and Mobile Emulation in Chrome.
    For those looking for a bit of a challenge, you can access the developer tools right in the Chrome Browser. It has an extensive instruction manual on how to design your website to look great across a wide variety of devices. You can check it out here.
devtools device emulator

The Device Mode & Mobile Emulation Developer Tool will help plenty of web designers in the responsive aspect of a site.

 

Study these industry standards.

mobile-seo

“Let’s make sure your site shows up in search results.” They sure aren’t joking around.

Google is so serious about mobile-friendliness that they made a pretty comprehensive webmaster guide to make sure you will be prepared for the upcoming update.
Here are some key points that you should know:

  • Signal Google once your site is configured for mobile.
    Signaling Google your readiness for mobile helps them make you more searchable to people browsing on their devices.
  • Make your pages crawlable.
    Of course, crawlable pages are pages that can be indexed. Barring access to your page by using robots.txt may send a wrong message to Googlebot, and in turn, determine your pages as “not mobile friendly”.
  • Test your pages for User Experience.
    Google is high on excellent user experience provided by sites. This factor also cascades to mobile pages. Make sure that you avoid common mistakes that bring poor experience such as unplayable content, faulty redirects, 404s, and slow loading. These can demote your page’s rankings so fix these once they happen.

 

Customize Your Site Now.

Speaking of fixes, now is the best time to customize your site. Most web developers would rather make a separate mobile site to account for Mobilegeddon (m.website.com), which is an outstanding option if you have the luxury of time. If you can make an entirely new site, test it, and put it live in less than four days then this should be the way to go.

Keep in mind that a separate mobile site means it will need to build a reputation of its own. The desktop counterpart ranking won’t necessarily pass on to its respective mobile site. If you have a native app, build your mobile website with a deep linking capability to it. This will increase the ranking points through search and social sharing.

But if you’re pressed for time, then a viable option is to migrate your assets to CMS like WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla. They have their own dedicated guides to make your site mobile friendly.

Remember to save a back-up of your site before making any changes, update your CMS version, and check plug-ins & templates for mobile-friendliness.

 

Track Your Mobile Data In Google Analytics.

Measuring the impact of the Mobilegeddon Google Mobile SEO update through Google Analytics before April 21 will present you valuable insights as to how mobile-friendliness affects your website moving forward. Planning your next steps with mobile data integrated will help you make wiser decisions and plot smarter moves.

To get you started, you can create a custom dashboard in Google Analytics to analyze these metrics:

  • Google Organic Sessions from Mobile
  • Google Organic Goal Completions from Mobile
  • Mobile Activity vs. Non-mobile Activity
  • Top 10 mobile Google Organic Landing Page

This is how tracking mobile data looks like:
mobile data analytics

You can access the Dashboard creation and customization wiki from Google here.

FAQs on Google Mobile SEO Update

  • Does my mobile-friendly site impact my desktop rankings too?
    A stand-alone mobile-friendly site will be ranked individually, so no, there’s no impact on desktop rankings—unless, your desktop and mobile site is one and the same.
  • Does my mobile app impact my mobile ranking?
    Google will be considering apps as a factor in search ranking—as announced by Mariya Moeva of Google Webmaster.
  • If that’s the case, do I need to have an app to complement my mobile site?
    Even though apps can have a positive effect on your mobile site’s ranking, the need for it relies almost entirely upon your customers’ benefit. Remember that an app can only be a plus factor if it receives high remarks and views. In other words, it needs to be consumed with affirmation. On the other hand, if your app performs poorly in remarks and views then that could lead to negative effects.
  • Is there a way to differentiate the queries I get from desktop and mobile?
    Yes, there is. Google has already implemented a filter in Google Analytics to specify which incoming traffic comes from mobile or desktop.
Kevin Joshua Ng
Kevin Joshua Ng
Kevin is Content Marketing’s humble scribe. He has no doubt in his mind that Content is still king and he will serve it ‘til the day of his demise. He’s known to lurk around the walls of social media, thinking and writing. So follow him on the BuiltbySF blog and on LinkedIn, Twitter.

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