If you’ve ever visited a website on your smartphone that wasn’t optimized for mobile phone viewing, you know how frustrating it can be to find the information you need. In a recent post, I outlined some common law firm marketing mistakes when it comes to web presence. Websites that aren’t optimized for mobile and tablet viewing generally have text that is too small to view without zooming in, links that are either too small, or too close to other text so that clicking the link is difficult, and information that can only be viewed in its entirety by scrolling sideways.
Last year, in an effort to get webmasters to optimize their sites for mobile viewing, Google began sticking mobile-friendly tags to search results websites that were optimized for mobile viewing, making it easier for web searchers to access information.
Now, Google announced that as of April 21, mobile-friendliness will become a ranking signal that will significantly impact search results. The search giant says this will affect mobile searches in all languages and make it easier for searchers worldwide to find quality, relevant results that will allow them easy access to the information they are searching for.
What is mobile-friendly?
Mobile-friendly websites look just as good, and perform just as well on a smartphone or tablet as they do when viewed from a desktop computer. Mobile-friendly sites don't use software that isn't usable on mobile devices, like Flash. Also, the text on these sites is readable, without zooming or scrolling, and links are positioned so they're easy to tap.
How does this affect my legal website?
It's very important that your legal website is mobile-friendly because Google will make these sites easier to find in search results (mobile-friendly sites will be placed higher in mobile and tablet search results.) So if you've been optimizing your website for higher rankings in search results, that work could be undone if your site is not mobile-friendly.
Is my site mobile-friendly?
If you don’t know if your site is mobile-friendly, Google has provided a free tool that will test your pages.
If you want to check if your mobile site has any issues that could influence your rankings, you can use Google’s Webmaster Tools for a Mobile Usability Report, that details any problems.