Mobile-Friendly Websites Rank Better on Mobile Devices 15


Do you know what percentage of traffic you get from mobile devices like smart phones or tablets?

You can find out in Google Analytics if you have it installed.  Here is a screenshot from a small niche site of mine:

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Mobile search traffic is around 40%%, desktop around 60%.

Here is the data from another niche site.

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For this site, mobile traffic is actually higher than desktop, though both are around 50%.

Here is one more small niche site:

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This one gets over 55% of it’s traffic from mobile devices!

For my sites as a whole, the average mobile traffic seems to be from 40 – 60% of all traffic.

However, I do have one site that does not get so much mobile traffic:

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This one has 73% of traffic coming from desktop.

Want to know the difference between this site and every other one I have?  This one does not use a mobile-friendly theme, so is not responsive and looks bad in mobile devices.

Why should that matter?

Google prefer to show show mobile-friendly sites to mobile users.  This isn’t just a theory, it’s fact because Google have told us that this is the case.  In a Hangout on January 30th 2015,  John Mueller confirmed it.

As far as my last site is concerned, this means I lose a lot of traffic simply because the site is not mobile friendly.  Put another way, it offers mobile users a poor experience so Google don’t show it in the SERPS on mobile devices unless there are no mobile-friendly alternatives.  It will be interesting to see what happens to the balance of mobile v desktop when I do switch that site to a responsive theme.

Using Webmaster Tools to find Mobile Issues

Webmaster Tools added a new Mobile Usability feature that can help show you problems with your websites.  Here is what this looks like when there are no problems:

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Far more often though, you will find issues, even on those sites using responsive, mobile-friendly designs.  Here is the report for one of my other mobile-friendly websites:

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This site, despite using a mobile-friendly theme still has issues.  71 pages in total have problems.  The problems are listed below – only 4 of them.  To see which pages are affected by the problem, click the arrow at the end of the row.

On this particular site, the problems were with old HTML pages.  The site is basically a WordPress site (with responsive theme) that has some older content created as HTML pages.  It would be worth my time cleaning up those pages by either converting the good content to a WordPress post, or deleting it if it is no longer relevant to my site.

Mobile-Friendly Test

Google also provide a free testing tool that can help you see the problems with your website.  You can find it here:

Mobile-Friendly Test

This tool will tell you whether the site is mobile friendly:

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.. and give you a screenshot of the site as Google sees it:

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Here is the analysis this tool did on one of my older non-Wordpress sites:

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Clearly this site has mobile issues.  If I don’t want to take a hit when Google update their algorithm (in April 2015 if my memory is correct) to favour mobile-friendly sites, then I need to make changes.  In this case, I’ll convert the site from HTML to WordPress.  It’s so easy to use a Responsive theme with WordPress.

My HTML to WordPress Course on Udemy

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Convert HTML to WordPress

Current Cost: $99

Cost with Coupon: $17

Click here to redeem coupon

Further Reading..

  1. Helping users find mobile-friendly pages
  2. Google Is Experimenting With Special Ranking For Mobile-Friendly Sites
  3. Tracking mobile usability in Webmaster Tools

If you have any thoughts or comments, please leave a comment.  I’d be interested in hearing about your mobile users and also your experiences with themes advertised as mobile-friendly.  Are they as mobile-friendly as you thought?


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15 thoughts on “Mobile-Friendly Websites Rank Better on Mobile Devices

  • Norm

    Hello Dr. Andy,

    I have gotten a couple or three warning mails lately. One old client contacted me when he got one. After running his site through a cell phone his site looked pretty dang good. (Everything on the site adjusted down just fine..) I also checked into services that say they’ll mobilize for you. They were hugely expensive. So…I’m a little flummoxed about this new thorn in my side.

    I use Artisteer these days for WordPress and you can flip a button to make sites mobile friendly when a mobile device calls for it, but frankly the original looks much better than the the squeezed down version. So, I made up my mind that I’d risk censure in favor of a better experience for the viewer.

    Norm

  • Rob Willox

    It’s not all that surprising that mobile-friendliness is being added as a ranking factor given the growing dominance of mobile devices and search.

    Posted back in November “Will mobile-friendly label hurt your search traffic?” when Google first announced it was adding the ‘mobile-friendly’ label to mobile search results. It wasn’t clear then exactly what impact it would have but one of the questions asked was, “Most importantly, will it influence SERP ranking positions?”

    Again, and without specific confirmation, posted, “Not being Mobile Friendly WILL affect your search rankings!” based on the reports being sent to webmasters through Webmaster Tools that their site will not be seen as mobile friendly by Google search.

    And, last week, as highlighted, Google themselves have indicated that it will impact on search rankings with non-mobile friendly sites being impacted negatively. Whether that is regarded as a penalty or not it certainly will reduce visibility in mobile search.

    Not implicit in Google’s statement but a possibility is the notion that non-mobile friendly sites might also experience negative consequencies on other devices not only for mobile search.

    The jury is out! But, keeping a close eye on our and client’s analytics after 21 April might start to give us further clues!

    • Andy Williams Post author

      Rob
      I think the fact that Google have pre-warned us this was going to be released means one thing. Expect big changes.

      Let’s see how it unfolds. I have two non-mobile friendly sites and will be converting them both to WordPress before the release.

  • Andreas

    A course would definitely be helpful in converting old html sites to wordpress. Would be great to see one published by you.

  • Valerie

    I’ve gotten a couple of these warnings too, even on WP sites that are supposed to be mobile friendly. I also have a site that’s HTML with a WP blog that I want to convert to fully WordPress, so I would love to watch your process as you convert your own site. Right now it seems rather overwhelming. Thanks, Andy. I’ve enjoyed your newsletters for years now.

  • Jack

    Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for the heads up on Googles interest in mobile friendly websites. I’m using Lifestyle Pro with Genesis, fortunately it is mobile friendly, but I will hae to check for settings.

    I think it is a great idea to to write a course on upgrading an older html website to a more productive, easily maintained WordPress website.

    I’ve tried at least two similar courses that turned out to be too complicated to be very useful and more than one wp plugin that never seemed to do the job. I’d love to learn to do it in the most efficient manner for the quickest turnover.

    Thanks for all of the good courses you have provided in the past and for your very useful and anticipated ezseonews.com website.

    Jqack Finnigan
    jack@vati.com

  • Carol

    Great article Andy! I’m glad you stay on top of all these changes and create great courses to make things so much easier for us to keep up to date on all the Google changes. I look forward to you writing a course on upgrading an older html website to a mobile friendly WordPress website. All of your courses are exceptionally well done and I get so much value from them!

  • Norm

    Hello Dr. Andy,

    Why sure. I’d love to mine your fertile noggin’ for the best way to convert an HTML site to WordPress. I suspect you are thinking that you have identified a need induced by friend Google and you’re sort of sitting on the fence as to whether or not open up a shop on the street corner. I hope you do.

    Your fan in Alabam,
    Norm

  • James Abell

    Hello Andy,
    That was very useful.. Luckily my main website there were no issues. Keep up the great information, I have been recently coming back to your site, I bought your SEO book a year or so ago. After, getting into other non SEO marketting how to sites, I am finding that SEO again is something I prefer as to me it is more honest if done properly, in the way you say. ie make good stuff and get good SEO and get seen. It seems logical to me as the internet gets more crowded, SEO again is a core thing to remember!

  • Shekhar

    Hi Andy,

    My website has more than 400 pages of static html content. As such, it does not look nice on mobile. While I have been using the GoMobi version of the site, it is still pretty basic and not user-friendly. As such, I am in urgent need of converting my website into a responsive website. However, as this site is my main website, it would be difficult for me to try it on my own. Perhaps, your upcoming course will help me do this in a proper manner. Please publish your course as soon as possible. I think, there will be many like me who will love to have such a step-by-step tutorial.

    Regards,
    Shekhar

    • mark holland

      Hi, I’m living in the dark ages, with a site designed 7 years ago on dreamweaver. Conversion to WordPress would have to be made
      simple for my limited skills – but a change is long overdue!

  • Frederick

    Would like to know how to covert HTML sites to WordPress and be mobile ready. This is the time for all of us to get in to hunt…