Technology

Google’s mobile-friendly test: How are you stacking up?

A new tool from Google makes it simple to check how well your website performs on mobile devices. Here’s how it works.

We live in an increasingly smartphone-obsessed world. We check our mobiles an average of 150 times a day and more web searches now happen on mobiles than on desktops. That means mobile compatibility is no longer an extra functionality that’s nice to have. It’s essential for giving your users a good experience with your website – and therefore with your brand. So how does your website stack up? There’s now a quick and easy way to find out.

Google’s new mobile-friendly test tool gives you a snapshot of how your site is performing on mobile devices, along with a list of recommendations on how to improve it. Designed to be simple and accessible the tool is ideal for small business owners, allowing you to get a quick understanding of your performance without needing a lot of technical knowledge. There is also an option to create a more detailed report that can be passed on to your web developer to action changes.

Why mobile friendliness matters

There are two key reasons why you need to have a mobile-friendly site. As mentioned above, a good chunk of your website traffic is likely to come from mobiles and tablets. More than half of all Google searches happen on mobile devices now. People are using their mobiles to seek out products, services, information and places to go in what Google calls “micro-moments”. These are brief but important touchpoints in the customer journey, where you have an opportunity to engage your target market and respond to their needs and desires.

To take full advantage of these moments, your mobile website should make it easy for people to find what they’re looking for – and fast. Google says the average user will leave a mobile site if it doesn’t load within three seconds. And nine out of 10 people say they will leave a mobile website if they can’t find what they’re looking for right away.

The other big reason to consider your website’s mobile friendliness is that it affects your Google ranking. Recent changes to Google’s algorithm mean sites that perform well on mobile devices are ranked higher on the search results pages. That means optimal mobile performance is essential for your company to rank well and be visible.

How the tool works

The mobile-friendly test tool can be accessed at testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com. All you need to do is enter your website address and the tool analyses your performance across mobile and tablet devices. It then gives you a simple report, with a score out of 100 and a traffic light rating (green for good, amber for fair, red for poor) for each of three key criteria:

  • Mobile friendliness: This is the overall quality of experience your users have with your mobile site. A good mobile-friendly site will display well on small screens; have big, easy-to-tap buttons; use clear, readable fonts; and be easy to navigate.
  • Mobile speed: Here, the tool looks at your HTML, CSS, scripts and images and how long it all takes to load on mobiles.
  • Desktop speed: Google says nine out of 10 people use multiple screens for tasks like booking a flight or managing personal finances, so loading time on desktops is also considered as part of the mobile test.

Along with your three scores, the report gives you a list of specific fixes to help improve your performance in each area. Some examples include optimising your images, enabling compression, leveraging browser caching and prioritising visual content.

If you’re tech savvy, some of these may be things you can action yourself. Otherwise, you can create a report to send to your webmaster or developer with some more detailed information and tips on what to do next.

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