Google already checks whether a website will adapt to the screen sizes of mobiles and tablets. If you do not, then you are penalised in your rankings on Google Search. But, it seems that too many sites have not taken any notice of this.
There were alot of so called internet marketing consultants who were talking about armageddon for your rankings, which caused panic many and the final result was much more subtle than the doom mongers said.
However, Google nows that around 60% of searches are now on mobiles and tablets. With the growth in voice activated searches which include Siri from Apple and Alexa from Amazon, Google knows that it needs to provide the best search results to stay ahead in the game.
Google says that in 2017 it will have separate search results for mobile users. I can understand Google’s position. They cannot deliver search results to customers that link to websites which are unusable on mobile devices.
So, to take the advice of Google and to go mobile centric does not just save you from being removed from Google search, it is a new opportunity to dominate your search results. I would predict the customer experience is going to have a greater impact upon Google rankings in the future than it ever has before. It is already known that Google looks very carefully at what happens to customers after they click on a link from a search result. With its many tools available, Google can tell if a customer stays on that website, goes to another, or returns to search again. This measurement of how sticky your site is already has an effect upon search results.
How easily you are able to convert your site to be mobile centric will depend very much upon the technology that is using today. If you are one of the 6 million websites are using WordPress then you should be able to produce a reasonable conversion easily using a new theme. This will allow you this will allow you to reorganise your content into a more mobile friendly layout.
When looking for a mobile friendly theme you will come across the phrase responsive theme. This simply means that the theme response to changes in screen size and reorganises the information inside. This is last year’s technology, but is certainly a good way to keep you in the game. To really bring your website to the standards that will be expected in 2017 and beyond, you should look for a mobile centric theme. In these cases the theme designers start with a mobile layout design and known scale up for larger screens. Many of these designs will be based on a technology called bootstrap which is a style framework specifically designed to work on different size screens. The beauty of bootstrap is you connect to turn on and off sections of the design dependent upon the size of the screen being shown. This immediately addresses the downside of responsive themes which just tried to squeeze all the information into a smaller screen width, rather than deciding which information was needed on a smaller screen and what could be dropped.
If you are in the market for a new theme design, I suggest you make sure that you view the design on a mobile phone, a tablet and a small laptop. Make sure that the demo site is easy to read and to control on all these devices. Menus must work when controlling the screen with touch. Images need to respond to the device size. Videos must play and scale to the screen size.
This website was designed using a bootstrap framework at its core. If you view the news page you will notice as you reduce the screen width that the entries reorganise themselves. When you scroll down, the menu bar sticks to the top of the screen. For small devices a menu bar appears at the bottom of the screen with buttons that are easier to click on. The sidebar does not just slip underneath the main content. It disappears completely.
You can test how your site is accessed by Google search from these two links.
You would be well advised to try a few pages to make sure they are compliant, not just the home page.