Google’s mobile-first index — where the search engine giant prioritizes mobile-friendly websites in its search results — started rolling out last week to smaller, local business websites and there are some that are really feeling the pain. Google announced two years ago that it would be making the switch to mobile-first indexing and slowly began rolling it out. Until recently, only major websites were affected, but now the rollout is affecting smaller, local businesses.
What this means for you is that if your law firm website doesn’t deliver the same content on mobile and desktop, it will suffer. According to Google, it doesn’t have to be the same visual layout; you just need to be sure people can access the same content no matter what device they are on.
So how do you know if you’re in trouble? First, test your site using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool. If you get a passing grade, then you can relax…a little. You also need to be sure you’ve considered the following:
User experience. Google can gauge the user experience on your mobile site simply by a change in how long people are spending on your pages and if there is a loss of traffic between pages. The navigation on your mobile site has to be finely attuned to delivering a premium user experience so that users can access the same content easily across all devices.
Keep text short. Smaller screens mean far less real estate for text. You need to write in short sentences, get to the point quickly, and make sure the text is broken up in a way that makes it easy to read on mobile.
Watch font style and size. You need to be sure you’re using a mobile-friendly font so users don’t have to zoom in to read your site. Your font size should be at least 14 across your entire site.
Understand mobile parity. Google wants to see the same content on both mobile and desktop, including links. This is known as mobile parity. It can be difficult to achieve if you’ve had to reconfigure your layout to make your site mobile-friendly, but it can be done. Really, if you’re going to invest in a site redesign, the best thing you can do is to design for mobile first and desktop second. If you want to get down into the weeds on mobile parity, read this Yoast article on mobile SEO.
Remember that digital never sleeps, so you need to keep testing your mobile site, especially when you are adding content on a regular basis.