Google start focusing more and more on mobiles and whether a website is mobile friendly. It will start using the mobile usability as a ranking factor. Last year everybody was convinced that a site should be at least responsive. If your site is not responsive then the site will probably drop in the mobile search ranking of Google.
Separate mobile sites is of course possible, but this will cost much more efforts. I wonder if there are companies which still have a mobile site. If it is that important, you probably want to have a free app. Google has now several tools to test your website:
Mobile friendly test
This test is using Googlebot and is seen by Google as a quick test for site owners to see if there will be a ranking problem
Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal
So this test can be used by anyone to check whether your webpage is mobile friendly. The tool test a page and not the complete website. The mobile usability tool will however test all the indexed pages.
This test is using also Googlebot and can be found in your webmaster account. To my opinion this account is highly recommended if you want to rank your website in Google. The first reason for this is that you upload your sitemaps via this portal. Letting Google know that you have a website in the first place. There is many more information coming from this account including this mobile usability tool.
This tool is not real time, but is used on your all indexed pages. In the mobile friendly test, you have to submit every page to see if this is mobile friendly. The outcome of this tool can be a missing viewport or links are too close to each other.
As far as I can see, Google is using the Mobile Usability test as the measurement for there ranking signal for mobile sites.
This tool is already available for a longer time and is pretty detailed in what to repair on your page. However this tool is not using Googlebot. The test will give a number for the speed and a number for the usability. The speed was already a ranking factor.
In other Google webmaster videos, you can see that Google is trying to convince people to use pictures with are using less kilo bites. Especially when you are using a mobile phone and have to pay for every Mb you download. The average user is probably not aware that video and pictures are data consuming.
In the below picture, you can see that taking away a slider has a big impact on speed. The user experience however didn’t change ( 95 /100 ), of course this sounds strange, but apparently Google calculate both factor separately in their index. The speed always was an factor only the user experience will now be added for the index of mobile search results.
Two questions: answered by Google
1. Will desktop and/or tablet ranking also be affected by this change?No, this update has no effect on searches from tablets or desktops. It affects searches from mobile devices across all languages and locations.
2. Is it a page-level or site-level mobile ranking boost?
It’s a page-level change. For instance, if ten of your site’s pages are mobile-friendly, but the rest of your pages aren’t, only the ten mobile-friendly pages can be positively impacted.
Don’t use Sliders on Your Home Page
Sliders are for usability seen as not good practice when you try to sell anything, because users don’t like to clicking on the slider and don’t like to scroll down to see if there is anything below the fold. Sliders were already seen as slowing down the page speed and now it will also be used as a lower ranking factor for the mobile world.
The pictures of a slider are between and 40kB and 200kB. This is far too much for a good mobile usability or page speed. For example I used JPEGmini and FileOptimizer to down size all of those pictures ( recommended size for the slider is 1600 x 800) of the slider which I used on one of my sites. With 7 pictures in the slider the speed index started with 36 /100. Reducing the amount of pictures to 4 increased the measured speed index to 46 /100. Now I skipped the complete slider and the speed index raised till 64/100.
Images on a WordPress site
The picture from the PageSpeed test still shows a lot of possible improvements. The images shifted from the most important red to the less important orange sector. For this part is important to understand that WordPress doesn’t cut the pixel size of your image. WordPress just uses the same full pixel sized picture and just scale down the view part. This means that the small pictures on your website should be uploaded with less pixels. This will increase your page speed.
If you like to show for example a featured picture at the post, it is best to upload smaller pictures WordPress and use this smaller picture and not the big top picture with a size of 740 x 400.
JPEG format is normally used. PNG format needs more pixels and is used when transparency is needed. In 2013 Google released the project for Web-P format. These has a smaller size but at this moment WordPress doesn’t allow to use it.
Most of the people are using a phone or tablet to find information and Google start to target these customers more and more by indexing quick and responsive webpages at higher positions. If your website is not yet mobile friendly, the change is high that you will loose a possible 70% of the market.
In Google Analytics you can find the exact numbers: who is looking at your website, on which device, where does the customer live and much more… On Google webmaster you can find under mobile usability if there are pages not yet conform with the index regulations of Google.
If you want to buy a responsive design then buy one from StudioPress Themes for WordPress All there websites are responsive and up to date. I am using for all my sites now the StudioPress themes and from my point of view they look great but the sliders should be avoided as these will probably cost you index ranking.