For several years, I have preached about the importance of mobile-friendly websites. A couple years ago, Google announced that they would penalize websites that weren’t “mobile friendly.” Websites needed to be easily visible on mobile phones, where you didn’t have to pinch to expand it so you could actually read it, and you didn’t have to scroll back and forth to see it. The navigation buttons needed to be large enough not to be hard to press without possibly hitting a neighboring button. Now, Google has taken it to the next level, using the mobile view of your website to determine your mobile ranking. Here’s why that’s important.
Being Mobile Friendly
First of all, make sure your website is mobile friendly. Copy and paste your website address this Google tool: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly. Google will let you know if your website meets the standard. If not, fix this now.
Next, is all of your page content, as seen on your PC, also visible on your phone? It must be because Google recently announced – after over a year and a half of experimenting and testing – that rather than using your desktop view to determine your content (i.e. who you are, what you do and where you do it) as they have all along, they will now use your mobile view to determine these things. Your mobile rankings hang in the balance if your mobile view isn’t optimized for Google’s search bots.
Google uses two different search algorithms, one for desktop and one for mobile. The approach to search engine optimization is more complicated than before, making sure things are set up correctly for both. Presently, Google’s mobile-first strategy won’t negatively impact desktop rankings. It will, however, impact mobile rankings. Since more than 50 percent of searches are being done from mobile devices, you really need to act now. Do you see why building your own site or getting one from a dime-a-dozen developer will actually negatively affect your ranking potential? If you/they don’t know much about SEO, you’re likely setting yourself up for failure online. Find a true expert (like us).
If your website is created in what is called “responsive design” or “dynamic serving,” Google says you’re good to go, assuming the SEO factors are built into it. Both of these will determine what kind of device has landed on the website and automatically adjust the resolution and view depending on the device’s screen size. Take a look at my website, for example, on a PC, tablet and phone: optimaautomotive.com. It will adjust accordingly. Do the same with your website. How does it look? Are you satisfied with the presence you’re putting out there for the public to see? Remember, you have three to five seconds to make that first impression. Is it a good one?
Security – What is SSL, TLS?
As if the above wasn’t enough to swallow, you now must be sure to upgrade your website’s security. You need a security certificate that shows Google your website is as protected as possible. Google will penalize your rankings if you don’t have this certificate. There are two main types of security you need to be aware of.
The first is called SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). SSL sets up an encrypted connection between your website visitor and the website itself. In reality, SSL is mostly from the past; today, we talk more about TLS (Transport Layer Security). Today, when people refer to SSL, they usually mean TLS. TLS uses the latest, strongest encryption that maximizes your site’s privacy and overall performance and upgrades you to a secure protocol. You’ll know it is secure because, instead of HTTP in front of your domain, it will be HTTPS. It’s not really important for you to know much more than this; you just need to know what to do about it. And here is your call to action.
Get a Certificate
Acquire an X.509 certificate from certificate authority (CA). Examples of CAs you might know are Symantec, GoDaddy, GlobalSign, IdenTrust, DigiCert and Comodo. Start by filling out a certificate signing request that will start the process of proving your identity and ownership of your website and domain. Once that is established, you’ll likely get a ZIP archive to give your web developer so they can configure your web server with the certificate. Certificates range from free to a few hundred dollars.
This is why you read my column every month: to keep up with the things you need to know. Take action now to defend and enhance your ranking potential.