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Search Behavior

Pressure Mounts to Meet Google’s Mobile Device Requirement

With the April 21, 2015 deadline approaching, Google is attempting to reach website owners and Internet marketers are scrambling to help their clients.

Google Alert ExampleHowever, unless marketers understand how to build and test web pages and software applications that run on all platforms and devices, all they can do is send warnings about sudden drops in rank and search engine traffic.

Google’s mobile test is not user testing, nor is it going to determine if web pages are user friendly on every digital device.  Websites built with old HTML are not designed for Responsive smaller screen layouts.  Pages with large images, parallax designs with layers, mega menus with sub-levels requiring a mouse and pages with videos are at risk of failing Google’s mobile test.

If your website is not included in Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools, you may not be aware of any issues.  Those that have received alerts are scrambling to make changes or in some cases, redesigning their websites.  This is important for pages that you wish to appear when someone runs a search from any mobile device, whether it be a smart phone or tablet.

Google has always been a champion for usability.  To them, the user experience is a factor in deciding what pages are the best to show for your search queries.  This applies to your product pages, contact forms, blog posts, proprietary software applications, directories, and well, most any page you want people to use.  The increase in mobile device usage over desktop indicates our computer behavior is adapting to the constant changes in computer technology.

In addition to mobile testing, you are going to notice more demands for accessibility testing and web pages that work with screen readers.  This is due to the world’s aging population and the growing need for user interface designs that are easy to remember and understand.  Distractions are less and less tolerated, which is bad news for advertisers relying on intrusive banners.

In fact, many ads that you see on desktop versions of webpages are hidden on mobile devices because they simply no longer fit.

Remember, mobile testing tells one side of the story.  My testing consistently confirms that passing Google’s mobile test does not satisfy mobile emulation and manual mobile device tests.  People may have older mobile devices.  To be absolutely positive your webpages are going to be included in Google’s mobile search, test it.

To be sure your website or web based software works for everyone who wishes to use it, you will need to conduct more in-depth mobile testing.