Mobile Friendly Website: What NOT To Do!

Good morning internet fans! It’s Ryan Perry with “Simple Biz Support”. It is Thursday the 23rd of April, therefore it is Internet Marketing Thursday, and on the other side I have the beautiful and talented Virginie Dorn with Business Website Center. Good morning Virginie.

Virginie Dorn: Very good morning to you. How are you on Thursday?

RP: I am doing very well, thank you. It’s a sunny day, and we’ve got some exciting things. We’re going to continue our conversation from last week regarding SEO optimizing your website for mobile devices.

VD: That is correct. Last week we primarily focused on “what you needed to do”, this week more on “what not to do”, and some of the items we’ll be discussing, but those are things perhaps might be beyond someone’s skill level, but you should know what they are so you can get back to your webmaster and tell them what you’ve learned and have them do the adjustments for you.

RP: Right, totally. We’re going to share a cool little tool later on from Google that’ll actually let you know if you’re having some speed issues, which on the mobile side is a very important part of one of the things that Google’s looking for. If you have a very slow loading website, not only is Google going to penalize you, but ultimately your potential client is going to penalize you because they’re going to get tired of waiting and they’re just going to back out of your website before it even loads. But before we get into that, what did you want to talk about first?

VD: Okay, so that is actually one of the most important element. But we can talk about things to tell your webmaster, for instance, Google does not want you to block any files on your website. If there are types of coding one can place on their images or their, what we call JavaScript or CSS file, those are what makes your website looks the way it does, and that’s something a webmaster would do for whatever reason. You need to make sure then those restrictions are not in place. You should allow Google and other search engines to crawl every file on your websites.

RP: Okay, just before you get too into this, because we’re starting with something that is kind of technical, and for those business owners out there that aren’t really technical, maybe they just use WordPress and don’t get in the CSS and JavaScript, what you’re talking about is, you can actually code… You can place a code on your website to block certain parts of your website from being crawled or seen by Google, and what your saying is that you want to make sure that Google has full access all of the content on your website?

VD: Yes, all the content, including images, because they love to index images. That also is true on mobile devices. But again, this doesn’t come from me. This instruction comes directly from Google themself about mobile optimization. A lot of their big requirement, if you go to the Google Webmaster platform, it will tell you, “Do not block any of your files. We want to see it all. We’re not going to index the CSS files, because there’s nothing to index. But if you stop our engine from crawling around, you’re going to be penalized somehow, and it’s going to prevent indexation of maybe things that were not blocked.”

RP: Right.

VD: Again, something might not be on your site. It could be, just talk to your webmaster and have him double check.

RP: I was going to say, especially if you’ve had your site for a long time, it used to be an SEO trick to block certain content that kind of funnel back… If you went back two, three years, we tried to funnel information through the website in such a way to help with ranking in Google and those types of things, and hiding certain pages, or doing different coding tricks, were part of that. So if your website’s relatively new, hopefully that’s not the issue. You shouldn’t have any block content. However, if it is a couple of years old, then I would definitely have somebody go through, somebody that knows what they’re doing, which would be your webmaster, go through and check and make sure that nothing’s blocked.

VD: Yes. So that’s the number one element. The second one, you want to make sure that the code playing on your mobile version is playable on all smartphones, and primarily we’re talking about flash. Flash used to be a very popular way of coding because it was fancy. It had animation. It doesn’t work well with Mac products, but also doesn’t work well on most smartphones nowadays, so that code is going away. It is still part of a huge percentage of websites out there. Now that Google has released Algorithm, again this was their second recommendation, is to not have such type of coding; Flash, table structures, any kind of video players that might not work on a mobile device. If Google is aware of it, they’ll penalize you, therefore is going to decrease your ranking and maybe even remove you completely from page one.

RP: Yeah. I’m sorry. I had to giggle when you said “tables”, ’cause you’re like, you’re going way back when we started talking about tables. And then hopefully people know that Flash has been around for a long time. It needs to be 86’d. It should have been 86’d at least a year ago from your website. Basically Flash is if you have moving images, not a slider, however moving images… Flash was really cool as far as what it did back in the day, but there’s a lot of other tools that have replaced it, and it needs to be removed from your website as soon as possible.

VD: Indeed. And let’s take it a step further. Another recommendation from Google themself, again, not from me or you, is in regards to video players. They prefer if you use one of the big companies out there, of course YouTube, since they own it, or Vimeo, to embed videos from there. If you try to do it on your own and host your own videos, you better make sure it’s compatible with all devices, because if it’s not, you are penalized for the fact that it doesn’t work on ABC smartphone.

RP: Right. And the other issue is, if you decide that you want to host and load your own video, you’re also looking at bandwidth issues now. When you embed a video from YouTube, when somebody types in your web address or pulling information from your web content, your pictures, your words, from your server, and then separately, if you embed your video on YouTube or Vimeo, it’s pulling that content in separately. So now you have two streams of content coming in, which means it can load faster versus if you’re pulling everything; video, pictures, words, all the programming that goes into the website, all from one source, it’s going to slow it down also, as far as load time, which is very important.

VD: That is a great explanation on why it’s beneficial to host the video elsewhere. I recommend YouTube, again because Google being the first search engine, YouTube being the second largest search engine, and YouTube belonging to Google, it is a bit like the mafia.

VD: But, you might need to put all the eggs in your basket. Try to really give all the advantages to your website. And if YouTube is not for you for some odd reason, you can use Vimeo. That would be the second largest player when it comes to video, and both are good options. Don’t put it in some dark, weird-looking website that say, “We’ll host your video for you.” Stick to the two largest players. And what’s so exciting about them, is whenever there’s a new type of computers being released with a new type of player for software, they will actually make the adjustment. They will have their programming team making sure the videos now work on that new software. Again, this comes from the recommendations of Google themself in regards to optimizing for mobile devices.

RP: Okay, great. And we’ve got about four minutes left by the way.

VD: Slow mobile pages. Heavy penalty if your pages are very slow downloading on mobile devices. There are different ways you can do it. Sometimes, actually most of the time, it’s due to images. So there are ways to call for different image on a mobile device, so here’s my phone, and on my desktop, I might have a large image, maybe 2000 pixel wide. When it detects the mobile, I can say, “Well don’t send that image. Send its smaller version at 500 pixel,” therefore it downloads quicker. Why don’t you share the trial from Google themself about testing page speed and maybe just try one of the big player out there and see how they rate?

RP: Alright, not sure. Nope, I grabbed the wrong page, sorry. Just a second here. I thought I was all set for you. Alright, so here’s what you’re looking for. This is PageSpeed Insights, and are you seeing it okay?

VD: Oh yes, absolutely.

RP: Okay, perfect. So what the PageSpeed Insight is, and we’ll put this link down at the bottom, or if you’re in this conversation right now, this episode, on the right-hand side is the group chat bar, the link’s already been posted. And what you’ll want to do is put your website in here and then click analyze, and Google developer tools will actually go out and analyze the website and they’ll tell you exactly what it is that’s going on. Now, you’ll notice the first hand that shows up is mobile, and I put Ford in there since they’re a big player. Right now, they’re at 57 out of 100. These are the top items that you should fix. In yellow are some items that you should consider fixing, and then number three are items that passed and did very well. They also have a user experience, and so making sure that your website is very mobile-friendly for people with fingers, being able to read the text, so they’ve got some user experience.

RP: And then additionally, you can also look at the desktop version, which has different criterias, but you really want to focus on the mobile side of things. And thank you, Google,

[chuckle] for letting me know I have another appointment, and now I lost my… Sorry. My other screen popped up, but I’m on that screen. So anyhow, so this is the SpeedTest Insights page. What’s nice about it is this is universal, so you can check it out yourself, and then if you see an issue that you feel needs to be fixed, just send this link to your webmaster and go, “Hey, punch our web address in there and look at the issues, and what do we need to do in order to fix it?”

VD: Yes. So, I was reading on some of the other recommendation from Google, and this is a sure fix, definitely items that are penalizing your indexation, so whatever is red needs to be addressed, otherwise you get penalty points for them.

RP: So those top-end red items are definitely high-list, let’s-take-care-of-those-today type of issues.

VD: Indeed, they are.

RP: Okay, perfect. And we’ve got about a minute left. Was there anything else on the list that you wanted to cover real quickly? Otherwise, if we can do a quick overview?

VD: Well, all the things we said to do last week, make sure you don’t do the opposite. And again, don’t block any files especially CSS images, JavaScript, keep everything open for the box. What’s the other thing? Unplayable content such as using Flash. Host your videos on good players, like YouTube and Vimeo, and finally, the page speed on mobile devices, make sure it’s up to the requirements of Google and other search engine. And if you do all of this, you’ll be in good shape with your website and be ranked very well on mobile devices.

RP: Alright, very good. And if you want to know… The other thing is, since Mobilegeddon launched on April 21st which was the new Algorithm change from Google, just by going into Google on your desktop and doing a Google search to see how your website ranks, may be drastically different than going into your smartphone and doing a Google search. So, highly recommend that you go into your smartphone and actually do a Google search, not for your business, but the industry that you’re in. So if you’re a dentist, as an example, and your office is in Santa Rosa, highly recommend while you’re standing in Santa Rosa typing “dentist”, and see what comes up, and then also do a secondary search for “dentist Santa Rosa” or “dentist in Santa Rosa”, and then the third option would be, use the voice Siri or… I forget what Google’s version is called, and say, “I need to find a dentist in Santa Rosa,” as an example, and see what pops up.

VD: Yes, do your homework.

RP: Alright, those are four tips that you can use today of “what not to do”. These are items that will affect your ranking if you’re trying to get your website found on mobile devices through Google, and if you missed last week’s episode make sure you check that out because that was all the good things. These are the things you should be doing to get your website found on Google. Virginie, as always I appreciate your time and I will see you next week.

VD: That sounds good. Take care. Bye.

RP: Alright, bye.


About the Author:

Ryan Perry is the founder and CEO of Simple Biz Support, Inc. Ryan started video blogging in 2009 as an alternative to written blogs to create visibility and credibility online. During the workweek, he enjoys helping small business owners harness the power of video to grow their companies. On the weekends, he enjoys hiking and searching out waterfalls throughout the state of California.

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