Is your web site more than a couple of years old? Have you updated it to be mobile-responsive, so the content adapts to smaller screen sizes? It isn’t hard to do. Most new WordPress sites these days are built to be mobile-responsive from the get-go.
If your answer is no, here’s a reason you should consider taking care of that in the near future:
Google rules the world! (And water is wet.)
Everyone wants his or her site to rank as highly as possible in search results, right? We all want more customers, clients, donors, subscribers, volunteers. When someone types in “plumber,” do you want to show up in the new “three-pack” of local results, or at least on the first page? Well, Google announced several months ago that “mobile friendly” sites will enjoy more “consideration” in search results from mobile devices! Now, they also said that desktop searches will not be affected, but with mobile search taking a larger chunk of searches every year, it’s a wake-up call to owners of “legacy sites.” Here’s an excerpt, along with a link to the page:
Starting April 21, 2015, Google Search will be expanding its 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 Google Search results. Users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results optimized for their devices. Make Sure Your Site’s Ready for Mobile-Friendly Search Result
The Big Picture: It’s Not Just One Thing
Truthfully, mobile-friendliness is only one factor in deciding who ranks first, second, and so on. You can read more about it here: Google Webmaster Education and Google Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide (a little meatier and more detailed). Technically speaking, some of the areas you control are your site structure, use of titles, meta descriptions, and keywords. Beyond that, it’s about high-quality, regularly-updated content that attracts visitors and makes them want to share it and link to you online in directories and other sites. For local SEO, claiming your Google My Business (which replaces earlier Google Local) and filling it in completely is important. Loyal customers who are willing to leave reviews on your Google My Business, or on Yelp or other review sites, can help, as well.
A Word About Yelp
Please, though: If you are the tiniest bit tempted — and I’m not saying you are — to leave a review yourself, or ask a family member to leave a review, don’t bother. They use filtering software to spot reviews they think are fake, for whatever reason.
They encourage you to tell your customers things like “Check us out on Yelp” or use one of Yelp’s badges on your site, but discourage you from point-blank asking people to leave reviews for you. Not every review makes it through, anyway, not even every legitimate review. So it isn’t as simple as just asking a bunch of your friends to go on Yelp and tell everyone what a fantastic job you did remodeling their bathrooms, or offering your customers discounts for Yelp reviews. So you can talk about Yelp, but you can’t ask for reviews. Isn’t that like telling my kid he can talk about his upcoming birthday and what a fantastic selection of Pokemon they have at our local toy store in the same breath, but he can’t actually ASK for a new Pikachu? Oh, well. Their site, their rules.
Location: More Important Than Ever
Google Search uses your location as a factor in returning results more than ever before, but according to them, location is only one factor in deciding what pops up in your “three-pack” of local results (which replaces the carousel at the top of your browser window). Authority and relevance also determine search results.
If you aren’t sure whether your site is “mobile friendly,” well, guess what, they’ll tell you. Here’s a link to their tester.
Just type in your site’s url, and wait for the results (it takes a minute or so). You can see what my results looked like, above.
If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, don’t be too hard on yourself. You’re certainly not alone. Still, you’d be wise to jump on it and get it done! If you’re tech-savvy and have the time, do it yourself. If not, there are plenty of WordPress professionals who can fix you up with a spiffy new “do something site” (as opposed to a “do nothing site” that just kind of . . . sits there) that will display beautifully on all devices–for a reasonable cost.