Latest industry figures suggest that access to the internet from a mobile phone has more than doubled since 2010*.

This trend has important implications if you have a website which isn’t easy to read when accessed from a mobile device.

We all know how frustrating it is to land on a web page which requires you to enlarge the text and links or to scroll across the page to read the content. Patience is certainly lacking when we use the internet, so a good user experience is key.

But now the issue is being forced by Google. In November Google announced the roll out of a new feature on the search results page – a label which highlights if a site is mobile-friendly. These things always take time to filter through, but you’ve probably seen search results like this: Image Below.

Google Mobile Friendly Search Results Google Mobile Friendly Search Results

Google said the labels were ‘a first step in helping mobile users to have a better mobile web experience’.

It’s safe to assume that people will become increasingly used to seeing this label and will begin to prioritise mobile-friendly websites when deciding which to visit. We suspect e-commerce websites, which need to allow potential shoppers to browse products quickly and easily, will feel the brunt if they are not optimised.

If you’re still uncertain about whether to optimise your site for mobile access, consider this: Google has also announced it is experimenting with the use of mobile-friendly criteria as a ranking signal.

So, not only will the mobile-friendly label help you to attract more visitors browsing from their phones, it may also help you rank above your competitors for your key search terms on Google.

The answer, therefore, lies in optimising your website for mobile devices, or ensuring mobile-friendly access is part of any new web development project. For us, mobile-friendly access forms a part of every web development project. It’s such a logical step that it has to be ruled out of a project, rather than ruled in (and we can’t think of a single occasion when it’s been ruled out!)

Peckforton Castle Mobile results Peckforton Castle Mobile results

When considering making your website mobile-friendly, it’s worth understanding these top-level guidelines from Google. These are the rules the Googlebots are using when determining whether a page is eligible for the mobile-friendly label:

  1. avoid software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
  2. use text that is readable without zooming
  3. size content to the screen so users don't have to scroll horizontally or zoom
  4. place links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped.

If your website has been built using a standard CMS platform like WordPress or Joomla it’s a relatively straight-forward process. Customised web platforms may be a little more tricky.

If you have any queries about optimising your website for visitors from mobile phones, please get in touch, we’ll be glad to help.

*Source: Office for National Statistics

About the author:

Jon Walker is M.D. of Ultimate Creative Communications  with over 14 years’ experience, Jon has an extensive knowledge of all digital marketing disciplines and has a passion and deep understanding of more traditional forms of marketing and over-arching Brand Strategy.

Written by Jon Walker February of 2015