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Should You Worry About Google Penalizing Your Website?

Every few years, Google throws out an announcement that turns marketers on their heads. Most recently, its attention has been on sites that aren’t mobile-optimized. Now that more people are conducting Google searches on mobile devices than computers, that means that websites need to be easily accessed and viewed on tablets and phones.

To that end, Google is planning to rank sites that are mobile-optimized even higher starting this month. Will your site rise with the cream of the crop or drop farther down in search results rankings? And how much should you really worry about this?

First: Is Your Site Mobile-Friendly?

Not sure how your site fares on mobile screens? Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to find out. This tool will assess your website from a mobile point of view and offer feedback on what you need to improve, if anything. Google’s also got a great guide to help you understand what you need to know to make your website more responsive to different screen sizes.

Areas for Improvement

If your site doesn’t get the thumbs-up from Google, here are a few things to work on:

Avoid Flash

Certain software, usually used for enhanced graphics, doesn’t render on mobile screens. Instead of that nifty scrolling banner you paid so much for, mobile users may see a blank spot or broken image. These platforms are on their way out, since mobile is such a critical tool for website owners, so you’re better off without flash.

Make Links Easily Clickable

If you’ve ever tried to click a link on your phone and ended up clicking the wrong link (darn thumbs!) you know how frustrating this can be. Make sure your links are spaced out enough to give people (especially those of us with meaty fingers) the ability to click what they want.

Use Responsive Web Designmobilefriendly-websites

It’s likely not necessary that people visiting your website from a mobile device have access to everything they would on your full site. Implementing responsive web design gives visitors the experience they need, based on the device they’re using.

Don’t Use a Different URL for Your Mobile Site

Some companies use a different URL to maintain their mobile site separate from their primary site. This just makes more maintenance work and creates more headaches for you. If you use a responsive web design, the same URL will render differently based on where it’s being viewed.

Don’t Make People Scroll

Another annoyance that keeps your site from being mobile-friendly is requiring people to scroll across or down more than usual. It’s a tiny screen, folks. Don’t try to fit it all in. Again, responsive design will take care of this issue.

It’s worth the time investment to ensure that your site is mobile-optimized. That way, you get on Google’s Good List once it starts really weighing sites based on this quality.

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Images via Pixabay: 1, 2

About Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory is the president of Egg Marketing & Communications, a marketing firm specializing in content writing and social media management. She frequently blogs about small business and marketing on sites including Cision, Forbes, AllBusiness, Small Business Trends, The Marketing Eggspert Blog and Tweak Your Biz. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.

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