Is Your Site Mobile-Friendly?

Is Your Site Mobile-Friendly?

The New Google Ranking Factor Could Up-End Search Results.

If you’ve performed a Google search on your smartphone lately, you may have noticed that each listing is pre-faced with “mobile-friendly”. This is to indicate to users that this website will show up on users’ smartphones in a usable way (no pinching and zooming a gigantic website).

But Google is taking is a step further, and is suggesting that your website’s mobile-friendliness will be a major ranking factor in the near-future.

How ‘Near-Future’ is Google Talking Here?

Google has already started sending out mobile usability warnings to webmasters if their websites fail to meet Google’s criteria for mobile-friendliness. If you have a Google Webmaster Tools account, you can check to see if you have any recent messages from Google regarding your website.

As for when it becomes a major factor in ranking your website, you can bet that by May at the latest you will likely see a major algorithm change that will implement mobile-friendliness. Google released a Panda update last May, and you can bet that they will release a new version of Panda around that time this year. The Panda-updates, as you may be aware, deal with filter out low-quality websites by evaluating the on-page content. Mobile-friendliness and on-page content go hand in hand.

Ways To Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly:

There are two major ways to make your site mobile friendly: use a responsive theme (responsive means that the website automatically adjusts to the size of the user’s screen) or use a mobile-website plugin.

Option 1: Responsive Themes

Almost all major new WordPress themes are responsive. If you’re going the free route, you’ll want to search for websites that have ‘responsive’ in their keyword tags. For paid themes on sites like Themeforest.net, you can search for themes by filtering out any that aren’t responsive.

How does it work?

One example is Sahifa theme. It’s one of the most popular WordPress themes out there, so you’ve likely already seen websites that use it. The website itself changes based on the device that visits the webpage. Here’s an example of an external website that uses Sahifa:

http://coupontraveller.com/hotels-com-coupon-code/

Now, if you visit that page on your desktop, and then on your smartphone, you will find that the website looks vastly different. The content, the words and pictures, are all resized to fit your screen. This whole process is completely invisible, and involves no redirection.

If you can find a high quality responsive theme, this is the preferred method for making your website mobile-friendly.

Option 2: Install a Mobile Plugin

If you have a theme that isn’t responsive but you want to keep the theme, another option is to install a plugin that will create a mobile-friendly version of your website, like WP-Touch. These websites will create your website in mobile-form, and will then redirect smartphone users to a different version of your website. There are some drawbacks to this option:

  • The redirection isn’t always perfect: – Sometimes the plugin will detect a tablet or desktop PC as a mobile device and show them the mobile website…which looks terrible up on larger screens. Usually there’s no way manually select the ‘desktop’ version of the site, either.
  • The Plugins Don’t Match Your Site’s Look: – WP-Touch, for example, will make your website look like all the other websites that use WP-Touch. It strips out all the colors and stylings that make your website unique. Your website’s titel will be in plain lettering instead of that fancy banner you created. There is a premium version of WP-Touch with more styling options, if you choose to go that route.
  • The mobile friendly site is a sub-domain, which could have SEO issues – When you visit the mobile site, the web address becomes “www.m.yoursite.com”, which is a subdomain. So if you have a really amazing article that people want to link to, your audience may link to your mobile web address accidentally, which can dilute your link juice. Subdomains and domains have different domain authority in Google’s eyes.

Free Tool: Check Your Site With Google!

If you aren’t sure if your website is mobile-friendly or not, Google has created a free tool for you to check your website here:

https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

How To Add Value for Your Customers With No Cost to You

Adding Value is Incredibly Important: But How Do I Do It For Little Or No Cost?

A blogger friend of mine (whom I have incredible respect for) wrote a new post about his tech company’s plan to take over a convention.

He outlined exactly what goes into an amazing booth at a convention (the ones that everyone crowds around) and where to get all the add-ons (free gifts, prizes, contests, etc.).

He even outlined where he ordered his booth’s decorations (Vistaprint) and where he got hats with his company logo (Lids).

This is Great Value in Itself.

This sounds like a great post, right? The kind you would bookmark and come back to if you find out your company is going to a convention.

It would’ve been easy for this blogger to stop there, and it would’ve been a really good, quality article.

But then he went above and beyond.

He posted exactly where to get promo codes for each of the services he ordered. He’s not an affiliate for anything. He just told everyone how to have an amazing convention booth, but then also told you exactly how to do it for much cheaper.

It’s a free way to add value to your customers in a way that costs you absolutely nothing. All you need is a quick google search and you can pick the top two or three websites that have the coupons your customers are looking for.

In a bit of shameless repetition of his idea, here were his top three picks for getting Lids.com coupons:

Lids Coupon Codes – Promo Codes for Lids.com!
Retailmenot.com
Groupon.com/coupons

And now you have three sweet resources to get coupons for Lids, and it cost me nothing! This is just one way to create amazing value for your customers without pulling money out of your own pocket.

Websites Referenced In this Article:

Vistaprint – for booth decorations at a convention.

Lids.com – for custom imprinted hats with your company’s logo on them.

White Hat & Black Hat SEO

White Hat & Black Hat SEO

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In terms of SEO, ‘White Hats‘ are good and ‘Black Hats‘ are bad. ‘Grey Hats’ fall somewhere in the middle. Let’s take a look at some of the characteristics of each category.

Black Hat SEO

You really want to avoid using any black hat techniques because while they might be effective in the short term, long run they are going to get you penalized by Google and possibly dropped off of the search engine listings entirely. They also tend to make for a very poor user experience for a human, and you should really focus on making the website useful to your customers first, and Google’s spider bots second.

  • Making use of Link Farms – Don’t do this, ever. Link farms are just giant collections of links that have nothing to do with each other. If anybody ever wants you to pay to be listed in their ‘directory’, don’t do it. Paid links of any kind are typically bad news.
  • Hidden text – This text is the same color as the background, or set to be hidden through CSS. Search engines don’t bother with style rules, so the text will still show up to a search bot but not any human visitors to your site. It is often used in conjunction with the next technique…
  • Keyword Stuffing – This is when you put as many keywords as you can into the content without worrying about silly things like sentence structure or readability. Some people just put lists of keywords (often in hidden text, as explained above). In WordPress any of your important keywords should go into the Tags for the post, and in your content of course but only if it makes sense in context.
  • Blog spamming – We’ve all seen or gotten those comments on a blog post ‘Great article! Thanks for sharing!’ that exist for no other reason than to create a backlink to a completely irrelevant site that’s probably selling Nike or Ray-Ban knockoffs.

White Hat SEO

  • Quality Content – No, we’re not going to stop harping on this one. Write good content, and lots of it!
  • Link Baiting – This is writing content that people will want to link back to. It could be a top 10 list, a highly informative article, or a news story. For most small businesses, I would consider writing an article or page on something that your company specializes in, and include your personal experiences and things you’ve learned.
  • Internal Linking – Make your site easy to navigate! The easier it is for the bots to find their way through the site, the better it is for you. There are lots of plugins out there to add Breadcrumbs to your WordPress site.
  • Site Optimization – Make sure you are using your header tags, site title, and meta tags effectively.