Google Clarifies The Mobile-Friendly Algorithm – Your Site Needs To Be Mobile Friendly

Starting April 21 2015 Google will be using mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.

From 21st April Google will be rolling out a significant update to it’s algorithm which will see mobile friendly websites rank better on mobile searches at the expense of those that are not mobile friendly. There are no varying degrees of mobile friendly anymore, either your site is mobile friendly or it is not.

This significant change will make it much harder for owners of non mobile responsive sites to rank in mobile searches. With 77% of people searching on a mobile from a location where they would have access to a desktop computer* this will have a huge impact on those companies whose website is not mobile optimised.

Google has made their stance clear in a blog post written back in February which states:

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. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.

Google also added:

You either have a mobile friendly page or not. It is based on the criteria, which are small font sizes, your tap targets/links to your buttons are too close together, readable content and your viewpoint. So if you have all of those and your site is mobile friendly then you benefit from the ranking change.

Is my Website Mobile Friendly?

The quickest way to test if your website is mobile friendly is to head over to Google Mobile-Friendly Test Tool and enter the address of your site.

What should I do if my site is not mobile friendly?

If your site is not mobile friendly then speak to your web designer or digital marketing agency about either making your current site mobile friendly or refreshing the design of the site.

Look at your web stats

Ask your marketing department, web design company or digital marketing agency to provide you with web site statistics if you don’t have access to them yourself. Look at your current mobile traffic and how many potential clients / customers arrive from a mobile search. After the 21st keep an eye on your traffic levels to the website, have they dropped significantly? Have your sales dropped?

If so it may be time to look at a redesign of your current web offering.


If you need advice analysing web stats or help to update your online presence then please contact us for an informal chat.

*Source –

Google Reader RSS aggregator retired


Google has decided to retire Google Reader in July 2013

Last week (Wednesday, March 13, 2013) Google announced via its official blog that it was retiring its RSS aggregator Google Reader in its annual ‘spring clean’ on July 1st, 2013. I hadn’t been a regular user of Google Reader, I had added a few blog feeds a while ago but I never had any use for it.

However I decided to take the plunge a few weeks ago and I got myself an iPad and overnight I found myself reading many more forums and blog posts. Rather than adding so many of my most read websites to my Chrome bookmarks I suddenly remembered Google Reader. Looking around for RSS readers for the iPad I came across River of News, A Google Reader iPad app. It was perfect for me I added a few more RSS feeds and was suddenly reading so much more than I ever was before.

So its such a shame that Google is retiring Google reader and although I found River of News incredibly easy to use I set about finding an alternative that would allow me to export my RSS feeds.

Without going into detail I came across Feedly which allowed me to import all my feeds from Google Reader. It has a Flipboard style interface and like River of News allows you to put feeds into categories making them quickly accessible. Feedly is also available for Android which is a plus as I do prefer the Android OS over iOS but that is a blog post for another day!

Content First

Both Sarah @Sarah_Darby and I @RobertDicks attended the Port 80 Localhost event on Wednesday 29th August 2012 (thanks to Joel Hughes @joel_hughes for organsing the event).

I listened with great interest to Robert Mills of Bluegg who championed the ‘content first’ approach to web design projects, which I completely agree with. Due to time quickly running out at the event I wasn’t able to give my comments in response to Rob’s excellent talk, so I thought I’d write this quick post championing this idea.

lorem ipsum all the way…

Of course, traditionally many web design projects have used dummy content such as lorem ipsum text and produced the design first – something I have always felt uncomfortable with. As Rob points out:

  • designs often needed to change to accommodate the content
  • content was shoe-horned into existing design
  • projects stalled at the very end when everything is completed and you were awaiting the content

Taking Rob’s first point about designs changing when content is (finally!) provided, this, from personal experience is one of the biggest problems with the content last approach.

“I liked the design but now I don’t”

I have in the past been asked to change or tweak a design even when dummy content has been used only to be asked to change the design back again when the client’s content has been added in the final stages of the project. I often feel that it is difficult for some customers to visualise what the finished site will look like whilst the dummy text is in place.

Tone of the site

Another problem that I have encountered with the content last approach is that the ‘tone’ of the site can drastically change when content is added at the end of the project. I have been involved in a few projects where we have discussed with the client the type of design, researched other relevant websites in the clients industry and have then suggested a design that is finally agreed. All is well and good, the site is built with dummy content, the client is happy, you are happy and then you receive the content.

Often the content provided is in completely the wrong tone for the design of the site. For example, the customer wanted a very corporate looking site and the copy you receive is very personal in nature, which doesn’t fit well into the design. More often than not, you receive copy that is very corporate in nature with all personality stripped out of it (which doesn’t read at all well in any site design!)

This is where the project is suddenly delayed whilst you A) Rewrite the copy or B) go back to the client and ask them to revise it which can sound somewhat rude at this late stage. As Rob refers to in his article, if you sell the ‘content first’ concept, clients can chat to you about what content is needed, the tone of the content and as enthusiasm is still high at the start of the project, they are also able to see the site taking shape without having to visualize what the end-product will look like.

Content First

We have started to go down this road in recent months at Forte, albeit we often ask for most of the content before we start a project. We still often tweak the content to make it more readable on the web but we have found this approach is far more rewarding both for us and the client. We will certainly be continuing with this approach and thanks to Rob’s excellent talk we will be working with future clients on an ‘all content first approach!’

Read Rob’s excellent blog post on Content First FTW.