Do I need to Fix Mobile Usability Issues

Received a Google Webmaster Tools email ‘Fix Mobile Usability Issues’? Find out if you really need a mobile site before 21st April 2015

You are reading: Do I need to Fix Mobile Usability Issues

Right. You’ve had one of those emails about fixing mobile usability issues on your website:

Fix Mobile Usability Issues - Browser Media … and you’re freaking out. And that’s ok. Just let me talk you through the imminent Google Mobile Website Algorithm Update and what it could mean for your site.

21st April 2015 (aka Mobilegeddon)

No it isn’t. Google is definitely changing its algorithm, and it looks like it’ll be on 21st April according to Gary Illyes, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, who said it’s “a very important day” for visibility in search on mobile.

If you don’t update your website before 21st April, Google aren’t going to strike you from their records. You may lose your position in search for mobile, sure, but depending on your market, and the search behaviour of your potential customers, that might not be such an issue.

Do I need a mobile site?

Yes, of course you do. That’s not news. We’ve been watching mobile vs desktop for ages and that whole ‘GoMo’ thing was a pretty big clue. Morgan Stanley has a nice graph to show you exactly how search has shifted:

morgan stanley internet trends - mobile versus desktop - browser media
Image credit: Morgan Stanley

If you’ve not got one yet, though, it’s not essential you get one sorted before 21st April. Especially not if the vast majority of your traffic is coming via desktop/tablet.

Google’s trying to give users the most appropriate results for their search query and so if your target audience are looking for your offering on a mobile device, then it certainly suggests you should have a mobile optimised site. Get that sorted. If your target audience are using desktop, then it gets less urgent. Still keep in mind though, that mobile search is increasing (see big blue graph above), so you should still think about getting the ball rolling if you’ve not already.

How do I find out if I really need a mobile site?

It’s Google Analytics time! Under ‘Audience’, there’s a handy ‘Mobile’ tab. On the Mobile Overview, you’ll get the split between desktop, mobile and tablet. I added the secondary dimension ‘medium’ and filtered by organic only too, then we’re really getting to the most relevant mobile traffic. Take a look at the percentage split and if you’re looking at anything over 20% for mobile specifically, it’s time to think seriously (and quickly) about getting your site mobile-ready:

Get a mobile site - Browser Media

If that percentage is much smaller, getting a mobile site is much less of an issue. You won’t disappear from Google’s search results, and you probably won’t lose much traffic either. Your site just won’t be visible (or will be less visible) for organic searches done on a mobile device.

Google’s mobile website algorithm change in a nutshell: If your website’s mobile traffic is vital to you and your business, you need a mobile-friendly site as soon as possible. Find out just how dependant you are on mobile traffic using your Google Analytics data.

Still not sure? Get in touch. We’ll take a look at GA and advise accordingly.


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