1. Your site may not be affected.
The best way to check is this website. It’s Google’s test for your responsiveness (aka how friendly your website is to cell phone and tablet users). Just plug in your URL and if it says “Awesome!” in green, you can sit back and drink your coffee with smug satisfaction, knowing your site is safe from the looming SEO disaster.
Of course, it’s also a good idea to just pull up your website on your smartphone and see how it looks: is the text tiny? Do you need to scroll in to read parts of it? Are things overlapping? These are serious issues. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200, go straight to your friendly local Oakland web developer for a free consultation and we’ll get it fixed.
2. But how much of a disaster is it, really?
Google’s penalty only applies to users browsing on mobile devices. Let me say that again: Google’s penalty for lack of a mobile site will only happen to those browsing on a mobile device. I can’t believe how many fear mongering articles leave out this crucial point.
3. Who browses the web on their phone, anyway?
Well, a lot, it seems. Mobile and app browsing comprise somewhere in the vicinity of 58% of all web traffic. So while the ding to your search status doesn’t affect everyone, the effect may be substantial.
4. I thought you were going to tell me how not to panic?!
Right, so more and more people are browsing mobile every day, but here’s the thing: nobody knows how much this will actually damage your search status. If you are currently #2 in Google’s results for “Mitsubishi mechanic Oakland,” will this penalty knock you to number 3, or to page 3 of the search results? It’s hard to say, and I think it’s fair to note your current ranking and wait and see in a week or two just how much you are affected by the change before deciding how much to invest in what kind of mobile upgrades.
5. But shouldn’t I be fixing this NOOWWWW?
Woah, cowboy. I appreciate your enthusiasm, but be aware that the band-aid quick fix may not help with all the criteria Google uses to score your mobile site. A “phone-only” version of your site may help in the short run, but it isn’t a complete solution (why?)
6. So what do I dooooo?
Check your current site. Do a little research. Get a free consultation about your specific options from a professional you trust. Take a deep breath and do it the smart way, thinking forward, so you won’t be caught with your pants down next time Google has a mandate.
7. Sometimes the upgrades aren’t that expensive.
It just depends on how long ago your current site was made or upgraded. If all you need is bigger font sizes for mobile, you can do it yourself or hire a professional for an hour or two.
8. Maybe it was time for a redesign anyway
This could be a great excuse/inspiration to bring your website up to all the current standards, move it to WordPress or another update-friendly Content Management System (CMS), and make it fully responsive at the same time. If you’re due to change themes anyway, may as well make it responsive and you get two birds with one bag of birdseed.
9. Good Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can mitigate your worsened placement
Some companies just absolutely cannot afford to redesign right now, or have another very good reason they Absolutely Cannot make their site mobile friendly (though it’s hard to imagine what that might be). The good news is that you can beef up your placement to compensate for the penalty by just following a few easy SEO optimization tips. Grab a free consult to learn more about that.
10. Remember the benefit here
Another way of thinking of this whole mobile-site panic is that Google is offering you a free premium search listing for the low price of having a mobile-friendly or responsive site. If you can jump on this before your competitors, you are rewarded with a free bump to your search results.
Remember the positives and take heart, my friends. You too can be mobile responsive and save yourself the increased blood pressure of being on Google’s bad side.
11. I can help.
A big part of the stress can be finding a designer who’s comfortable mobilizing your current site or switching you to a fresh responsive theme. I can respect your current branding and design decisions and get you what you need within most any budget, and I’ve been doing this for years to many, many sites. When you’re ready to make the mobile move, please consider your neighborhood designer.