As mobile use continues to grow, Google has taken notice and they’re rolling out a mobile-friendly label in their search results for those sites that are equipped. The bots are searching for mobile-friendly criteria, such as website text that can easily be read on mobile devices. Small businesses that don’t have mobile-friendly websites need to face the facts! They should allocate the necessary time and resources into having mobile-friendly websites; otherwise, these businesses will be left in the dust. Watch this Daily Brown Bag to learn about Google’s rollout of a mobile-friendly label, the importance of having a mobile-friendly website, and how Google is experimenting and might utilize this mobile-friendly criteria as a ranking factor in search.

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Hello and welcome to the Daily Brown Bag. Today, we're going to be talking about the mobile-friendly label. I'm Chad Hill and I'm joined by Adam Stetzer.

Hey, good afternoon Chad. Welcome to the Brown Bag. We've been talking about getting ready for mobile for a long time, Chad. It's been coming and now, it's here. We know that customers more and more want your website to be accessible both from a desktop and also to be very friendly on their mobile device. But today what we're covering, Chad, is a change from Google where they're adding a mobile-friendly label in their search results for those sites that are equipped. And they're going to be rolling this out over the next few weeks. So here's the dirt on this new release from Google.

To have a site be eligible, showing the mobile-friendly area with this mobile-friendly label, the bots have to see a couple of things. Here's specifically what they're looking for. They're looking for text that can easily be read on a mobile device. They're looking for content that can be viewed without zooming or having to scroll horizontally - that means across. They're looking for links that are spaced that you can easily click on them via mobile. And they want to make sure you're not using any software, particularly outdated software that is not compatible with mobile. A great example of that would be flash.

Now, Google also said that it is experimenting with using this mobile-friendly criteria that we just covered as a possible ranking factor, and if you recall Chad, we covered this back in June last year. The sites that weren't mobile-friendly would have a negative impact in mobile search. We're now wondering if they're broadening those criteria as this is becoming more and more important for their entire search algorithm. I'm sure we'll have more on that as it becomes known. So what does this mean for our small business readers?

Well, as you said, the usage of mobile continues to grow. It's not really a new story, but let's review some of the stats and just where we are. Use of mobile devices to access the Internet has increased globally 67% over the past year, according to StatCounter. And that actually has gone up 73% in the U.S., and now basically 24% of all searches are conducted via mobile. That means 66% are on desktops and the other 10% are on tablets. There are some countries out there, like 30% will abandon a site if it's not mobile compatible. Actually, Cisco has predicted that by 2017, we're going to actually have 1.4 mobile devices per person. So I suppose with all these other technologies coming out, we're actually going to be even more mobile than we are today.

I think that the real interesting thing here that we've talked about this so many times, Google tends to sort of offer these carrots and these sticks depending on usage and behavior they want to encourage. Clearly, they know as this mobile audience grows, that if they want to stay relevant and keep the world's information indexed and one click away from Google, they want those sites to also be good for their end users and their customers. So they're offering us a carrot here. It starts with this mobile-friendly label, but as you said, there may be a stick coming which is that you might not actually as good a rankings if your website is not mobile-friendly.

Here Are Our Tips for Small Business:

  1. You definitely should make sure that if you're doing a web design or web redesign, you're choosing a responsive design. That's the easiest way to get your website mobile from day one.

  2. You want to clean up your site, as Adam said, clean up any images or things that should be clickable, inside images, uses of flash. Make it really simple.

  3. Make sure you prominently display your name, address, a link to a map, and phone number, because a lot of mobile phones will automatically convert phone numbers and other things, even addresses into driving directions, phone numbers into clickable links to call.

You want to make it easy for people. If you're not sure what your website looks like from a mobile standpoint, there are lots of really interesting tools; Google has one. If you just go to the Webmaster Mobile Guide, you should check out the Mobile-Friendly Test to see what your potential customers are seeing on your website today. If there's a problem, then make your site look great on mobile devices before it's too late.

It sounded easy to get all those stuff ready, but we know we see websites everyday, Chad, that are just not ready, some very old technology, and people often resist getting back into their website and redoing it, but it needs to be done. The small business needs to face into this and I think no one could say they didn't see this coming. We've been talking about mobile for years. Google has been talking about it, and we see that it's starting to inch its way into the algorithm, I'm sure. They're in touch with their data. They know how users want to see their data, as you've said, Chad, and so this is just going to become more and more prominent as computers get smaller and more mobile, which, there's no denying, that will be the case. Well, that's our Brown Bag for today. We hope you enjoyed our coverage. We'd love to hear from you. Drop us a comment. And better yet, subscribe and we'll see you back tomorrow.