On April 21st, Google will be updating its mobile search algorithm to favour only law firm websites that are mobile friendly, i.e. optimised for tablets and smartphones. Websites that are not responsive risk being severely downgraded in a user’s search results, effectively rendering them invisible to searches by mobile device users.
“Why should I care?” I hear you ask. Well it is estimated that about 60% of all searches conducted on Google right now are using a mobile device and that number keeps growing at a clip. There are now more mobile devices than humans on the planet so it makes sense for Google to make this change. Desktop search results will remain uneffected.
So How Do I know If My Law Firm’s Website Is Mobile Responsive or Friendly?
You have a couple of options:
- Take out your smartphone, visit your website and if you have to “pinch or zoom” to read your content, then it is probably not mobile friendly.
- For a more technical approach Google has created a Mobile-Friendliness tool that will give you a “Yeah!” or “Nay!” answer.
A couple of things to keep in mind…
This tool only works on a url by url basis. Google’s tool only evaluates pages individually. So to be really sure your entire site is mobile friendly, do a “site:” query for the domain in question on your phone. This allows you to find all pages indexed by Google for your law firm’s domain, and you can determine which are responsive and those that are not.
Google has been very clear that Mobile-Friendly test results are black or white, meaning that your page is either Mobile-Friendly or it is not. There is no middle ground.
So What If My Site Is Not Mobile Responsive? Now what?
This all depends on how your website is currently deployed, i.e. what CMS you are using, what theme is deployed and does it leverage a grid system, to mention but a few things. These and other concerns will need to be evaluated by your developer.
Open source CMS platforms such as WordPress, Drupal and Joomla all support mobile responsive templates and plugins. However, if you are locked into a proprietary CMS then you will need to speak with your provider and ask about any solutions they provide.
In both cases you could be looking at a wholesale re-design and re-build of your website or at least updating your theme and some plugins. Until someone with technical expertise looks under-the-hood you won’t know for sure.
No matter which direction you choose to go, having a mobile-responsive site is now a requirement if you want to stay visible and competitive. Ignore this change at your peril because after April 21st, if your law firm website is not mobile friendly or you don’t have a plan to be responsive soon you might as well not bother having a website, at least from a mobile perspective.
If you want to delve a little more into the technical side of Mobile Friendly website design below is a useful infographic which outlines some things you will need to consider.
If you need someone to take a look at your website and perform a technical audit, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or checkout the website & digital services fSquared Marketing can provide your law firm.
As always share your experiences and tips in the comments section below.