Google released one of its largest updates for some time in April 2015. As usual, the changes to the search engine algorithm caused concern in the SEO community. The update was dubbed 'Mobilegeddon,' reflecting fears over its potential impact. The changes are specifically designed to reward mobile-friendly websites with improved rankings, and there's no cause for concern.
Google's objective is to provide a great experience when a user makes a search. Increasing use of smartphones and mobile devices means that a high percentage of search engine users need to see mobile-friendly sites in the results. The trend is set to continue, and smartphones and tablets are now outselling laptops and desktop computers.
If you're a WordPress user, you don't need to worry about complex coding changes to make your site mobile-friendly. The following steps will help you to protect your website from being penalized in the Mobilegeddon update.
1) Run a mobile-friendly test.
An easy way to see how your website appears to a mobile user is simply to access it from a smartphone. Does the site appear as you expect it to? Is the text easy to read and can you navigate easily between pages?
Google has released the Mobile-Friendly Test Tool to enable a website owner to confirm that a site operates as it should on a smartphone. By entering a URL into the search bar you can run a series of tests to confirm that a site's design is optimized for mobile devices.
2) Switch to a responsive WordPress theme.
Using a responsive theme means that the layout of your website adjusts to a device's screen to give the user an optimal viewing experience. As a website owner you can be confident that a visitor to your website is able to see everything as you want them to.
The only downside is that responsive themes do have some restrictions with regards to placement of elements in the header and footer. There are plenty of responsive themes to choose from, so you can choose a design that suits your style and design preferences.
3) Install mobile-friendly plugins.
One of the great things about WordPress is that there are plugins available to do pretty much everything a website owner needs to. This now includes making your website mobile-friendly. Examples include plugins to create a site menu specifically for mobile users and plugins to amend content depending on the type of device a visitor accesses your site from.
4) Take actions to speed up your site.
Speed is critical for users accessing your site from mobile devices. Even if you've taken action to survive Mobilegeddon you'll lose traffic if your WordPress site doesn't load instantly.
Your hosting service is a key element of your site's speed, so think carefully before choosing a cheap hosting package. Install a caching plugin, as they can drastically improve page loading times. Optimize any images on your site to reduce the size and maintain the quality.
Protecting your WordPress website from Mobilegeddon is simply a matter of running some tests and making a few updates. Making the improvements means you can rest assured your ranking won't be affected and users of mobile devices will be able to enjoy your website.