Avoid Google Penalties Is Your Website Mobile Optimized?

mobile optimized

In 2017, Mobile devices officially surpassed desktop computers as the primary method of browsing the internet in North America. Google has introduced new changes that will now penalize websites that are not mobile optimized. The bottom line, if your website isn’t optimized for mobile devices your business will be losing potential clients and customers.


It’s 2017, Your Website Should be Mobile Optimized!

With mobile device usage steadily increasing every month with no end in sight, Google has decided to make changes to the way it evaluates a website’s ranking based on how optimized it is for mobile devices.

With the recent changes, Google has removed the “Mobile Friendly” title from search results. The “Mobile Friendly” label was originally implemented back in 2014 as a way to help mobile users select the best search result based on the device they are searching from.

The reason for removing the “Mobile-Friendly” label is because it is now assumed that websites will be mobile-friendly, if they’re not then they will not be ranking properly for search queries performed from mobile devices. The new expectations from Google are very reasonable, as of writing this article over 80% of websites are currently mobile-friendly.

The recent changes shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has been keeping up with Google’s public announcements, back in 2016 Google announced they would be using their new “Mobile-First” indexing in place of Desktop indexing.

Google’s algorithms will now primarily use the content from a website’s mobile version to rank pages from that website. Meaning, if your website isn’t optimized for mobile devices yet, it’s time to take action or you’ll soon be left in the dust by your competitors.


Is Your Website Mobile Optimized?




Curious to see if your current website is mobile friendly? Check it now with Google’s free mobile-friendly test.

If you have already optimized your website for mobile devices or have a “Responsive” website, the official Google Mobile-Friendly Testing Tool is great for identifying any issues and even provides constructive suggestions for improvement.



How to Create High-Quality SEO Friendly Blog Posts

How to Create High-Quality SEO Friendly Blog Posts

Creating quality blog posts that are both SEO friendly and easy to read can be a difficult task for any business. It can be challenging finding a balance between high-quality, well written content and Search Engine Optimization.

In this post we will cover several ways to help create high-quality SEO friendly blog posts that will provide value to your audience.


Natural SEO

Avoid tricks and shortcuts like keyword stuffing that may provide some short term success but will eventually catch up to you. Your SEO strategy should always be looked at as a long term investment for your business.

One of the most important aspects of a natural SEO strategy is creating high-quality content that actually provides value to your audience. If you want to earn a top spot in Google’s search engine results for a particular search query, you should be creating your content with the mind set of actually being the best result for that search query.

Keyword Research

If you want your blog post to appear among the top search engine results, the first step is determining what keywords your target audience is actually using to perform their searches. These keywords need to be naturally integrated into your written content, make sure to take them into consideration before you begin writing. After you have finished your keyword research there are a few more important factors to take into consideration. Ensure that your content is unique, easily readable, and also easily found.

1) Unique Content

Whether you’re writing a new blog post, webpage or article, your content should be unique. It should be something original that doesn’t exist elsewhere on the internet, something that provides value and that people will naturally want to engage with.

2) Readability

Once you have finished creating your unique content, the next step is to ensure that your audience will be able to easily read and understand it. Readability is one of the many factors Google takes into consideration when evaluating content. If your text has been well written and structured by correctly utilizing subheadings, titles, links and proper paragraphs it makes it easier for Google to understand what your content is about. If Google has a clear understanding of what your content is about it increases the likelihood of your content ranking higher in related search engine results. In addition to helping with SEO, well written content also helps to ensure an overall positive user experience.

3) Findability

Ensuring that your content is easily found is an important step which is often neglected. While you’re creating unique SEO friendly content make sure that it is easy for Google and other major search engines to actually find it. This step is necessary to increase the probability that your content is found, understood and indexed properly by search engines. If you’re unfamiliar with the technical aspects of Search Engine Optimization there are a variety of free and paid plugins you can use to assist with the process depending on the infrastructure of your website. Never sacrifice the quality of your content when optimizing it for search engines.



Your Search Engine Optimization strategy should always be looked at as a long term investment for your business. In order to rank among the top search engine results for competitive keywords your website and it’s content should be built around truly being the best result for those searches. Making your content easier for Google to find and understand will help ensure all of the hard work that went into creating your content will eventually pay off.





Optimize Your Website for Google’s Mobile-First Index


Google has officially begun testing their new “mobile-first index”. If your website has a mobile version, the new index will evaluate it first and only fall back to the desktop version of your website if no mobile version exists.

The mobile-first index is something Google has intended to implement for a long time now. Google first made mention of their intentions of implementing it back in 2015, however on Nov.4th 2016 Google covered the new index in detail on their official blog.

If you have been procrastinating on optimizing your website for mobile users, it’s time to take action. It’s no secret that mobile search traffic is steadily increasing with no end in sight and as such Google and other major search engines are forced to place more importance on mobile user experience.


Here are several steps you can take to ensure your website is optimized for the new Google mobile-first index



Website Speed: Google has set the bar reasonably high by declaring the acceptable load time for an e-commerce website to be 2 seconds or less along with an eventual goal of less than half a second. A website’s load time is critical to overall user experience and one of the most important ranking factors for mobile search results.


Here are four common issues that could be slowing down your website’s speed.


Poorly Optimized Images: Unnecessarily large images can have a dramatic effect on load times. Optimizing your images so that they are the appropriate size can be a very simple and effective way to improve your website’s speed.

Unnecessary Code: Minify your website’s code by removing redundant code that has no impact on functionality or re-writing it to be more efficient using fewer lines.

No Browser Caching: If your website is built off of wordpress or a similar content management system you can easily implement a browser caching plugin such as WP Super Cache. Browser Caching allows some of your website’s files to be saved to a user’s local computer when they visit your website so that they don’t have to be re-download multiple times.

Too Many Redirects: Unnecessary redirects can result in your website having to reload multiple times, slowing down your website and ultimately resulting in a poor overall user experience.
Page Design: In recent years SEO has become more than just a purely technical skill with an increasingly important emphasis on design. In order to properly perform SEO on a website an in depth understanding of both code and design is critical.


Designing a website for mobile devices has become an art. Ensuring your website is fully responsive is a great start but here are a few more suggestions to help your website rank well in Google’s mobile-first index.


Don’t use Flash: Many mobile users can’t load flash elements on their mobile devices so it’s critical that they’re either removed or replaced by using Java or HTML 5.

Avoid Pop-ups: Obviously generating leads is one of the main objectives of most websites, however if a mobile user is overwhelmed with pop-ups this has an extremely negative impact on user experience, they are likely to leave, resulting in a poor bounce rate and ultimately decreasing your website’s ranking. It’s best to avoid pop-ups entirely for mobile users.

Make Your Site “Finger Friendly”: Mobile users will be navigating your site using their fingers, meaning your website’s design needs to accommodate them. Ensure your website design is “Finger Friendly”, make sure mobile users are able to navigate your site effortlessly, both scrolling and tapping with proper element spacing to avoid any accidental clicks.

On-page & Local Optimization: Mobile devices have a lot less space to work with, all of your website’s titles and descriptions should be as concise as possible avoiding the use of any unnecessary characters. This will assist Google’s website crawlers understand what your pages are about faster which will lead to improved rankings and higher click through rates.

Google released a major update in September that changed the way local search factors into a website’s ranking. There are many studies and statistics showing that mobile users performing local searches are typically ready to take action.

Google’s own research showed an impressive 50% of users that conducted a local search from their mobile device visited a store within one day and 34% who searched from a computer/tablet did the same. Their is an incredible amount of incentive for local businesses to rank well in Google’s new mobile-first index.

To improve your website’s mobile visibility make sure to include appropriate tags and meta data


  • City and province in the title tag
  • City and province in the H1 heading
  • City and province in the URL
  • City and province in content
  • City and province in the alt tags
  • City and province in the meta description
  • Business Name, Phone and Address



Although Google hasn’t officially rolled out their new mobile index yet, by taking action now you can ensure your website is ahead of the curve by helping improve it’s visibility and ranking in mobile search results now and into the foreseeable future.



How Google Defines “Quality Content”


When it comes to SEO, quality content is generally regarded as the most important ranking factor but what does “quality content” really mean?

This question often comes up within the search engine marketing community, typically with answers based on opinions rather than facts.

One of the most common misconceptions is that quality content has to contain a certain numbers of words, however often less is more. Take for example a simple search query about the team a professional athlete plays for, this query can be sufficiently answered in one simple sentence and doesn’t require the athlete’s full autobiography.


Google’s guidelines on quality content

Google has publicly posted some guidelines and best practices along with suggestions for creating quality content.



Source: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/35769


Although Google provides us with some valuable information in the first link, most of it is based on things you shouldn’t be doing instead of things you SHOULD be doing. The problem with this is, assuming 100 sites all have similar content and none of them are breaking any of the rules, how does Google assess which site has higher quality content for a related search query?




Source: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/6001093?hl=en


In the second link, Google shines a little more light on what they consider quality content.

There are a few notable suggestions again on things to avoid such as broken links, wrong information, spelling or grammar mistakes, invasive advertisements, etc. But this time there are also some suggestions on things you SHOULD be doing.


As you begin creating content, make sure your website is:

Useful and informative: If you’re launching a site for a restaurant, you can include the location, hours of operation, contact information, menu and a blog to share upcoming events.

More valuable and useful than other sites: If you write about how to train a dog, make sure your article provides more value or a different perspective than the numerous articles on the web on dog training.

Credible: Show your site’s credibility by using original research, citations, links, reviews and testimonials. An author biography or testimonials from real customers can help boost your site’s trustworthiness and reputation.

High quality: Your site’s content should be unique, specific and high quality. It should not be mass-produced or outsourced on a large number of other sites. Keep in mind that your content should be created primarily to give visitors a good user experience, not to rank well in search engines.

Engaging: Bring color and life to your site by adding images of your products, your team, or yourself. Make sure visitors are not distracted by spelling, stylistic, and factual errors. An excessive amount of ads can also be distracting for visitors. Engage visitors by interacting with them through regular updates, comment boxes, or social media widgets.

The Google search quality rater guidelines mention many ranking signals for both low and high quality content. Here are a few important highlights from the guidelines.


What makes a High-quality page? A High-quality page may have the following characteristics:

  • High level of Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness (E-A-T)
  • A satisfying amount of high quality MC (Main Content)
  • Satisfying website information and/or information about who is responsible for the website, or satisfying customer service information if the page is primarily for shopping or includes financial transactions
  • Positive website reputation for a website that is responsible for the MC on the page

6.1 Low Quality Main Content

One of the most important criteria in PQ (Page Quality) rating is the quality of the MC, which is determined by how much time, effort, expertise and talent/skill have gone into the creation of the page and also informs the E-A-T of the page.

Consider this example: Most students have to write papers for high school or college. Many students take shortcuts to save time and effort by doing one or more of the following:

  • Buying papers online or getting someone else to write for them
  • Making things up
  • Writing quickly, with no drafts or editing
  • Filling the report with large pictures or other distracting content
  • Copying the entire report from an encyclopedia or paraphrasing content by changing words or sentence structure here and there
  • Using commonly known facts, for example, “Argentina is a country. People live in Argentina. Argentina has borders.”
  • Using a lot of words to communicate only basic ideas or facts, for example, “Pandas eat bamboo. Pandas eat a lot of bamboo. Bamboo is the best food for a Panda bear.”

The point referring to large pictures is worth noting as a portion of Google’s algorithm is dedicated to content that appears “above the fold” (meaning content that is visible without needing to scroll down). It’s common for newer style websites to feature massive images on their main page that offer no useful content without the need to scroll down.

In section 7 Google lists some examples of websites and pages that should be rated with the lowest possible quality ratings:

  • Harmful or malicious pages or websites
  • True lack of purpose pages or websites
  • Deceptive pages or websites
  • Pages or websites which are created to make money with little to no attempt to help users
  • Pages with extremely low or lowest-quality MC
  • Pages on YMYL websites that are so lacking in website information that it feels untrustworthy
  • Hacked, defaced or spammed pages
  • Pages or websites created with no expertise or pages which are highly untrustworthy, unreliable, unauthoritative, inaccurate or misleading
  • Websites which have extremely negative or malicious reputations
  • Violations of the Google Webmaster Quality Guidelines

In section 7.4, Google goes into a little more detail on the definition of “Lowest Quality Main Content,” listing the following examples for content rated as Low quality:

  • No helpful MC at all or so little MC that the page effectively has no MC
  • MC which consists almost entirely of “keyword stuffing”
  • Gibberish or meaningless MC
  • “Auto-generated” MC, created with little to no time, effort, expertise, manual curation or added value for users
  • MC which consists almost entirely of content copied from another source with little time, effort, expertise, manual curation or added value for users.

Also listed are some helpful points on factors and signals related to trust. These points are some of the most important listed and essentially come down to overall user experience, you need to understand what information your visitors are looking for and be able to provide it to them.
12.7 Understanding User Intent

It can be helpful to think of queries as having one or more of the following intents.

  • Know query, some of which are Know Simple queries
  • Do query, some of which are Device Action queries
  • Website query, when the user is looking for a specific website or webpage
  • Visit-in-person query, some of which are looking for a specific business or organization, some of which are looking for a category of businesses

In section 2.2 Google provides a better breakdown under “What is the purpose of a Webpage?” they state the following:

  • To share information about a topic
  • To share personal or social information
  • To share pictures, videos or other forms of media
  • To express an opinion or point of view
  • To entertain
  • To sell products or services
  • To allow users to post questions for other users to answer
  • To allow users to share files or to download software

Essentially matching a user’s search intent to the content and purpose of a web page to help ensure a positive overall user experience.


Controllable quality content signals

Broken links – You can use a free tool to crawl your site for broken links and fix them
Incorrect information – Do your due diligence and make sure the information on your website is accurate.
Grammatical errors – There are a number of free tools that can proofread your content for grammatical errors.
Reading level – It’s important to adjust the reading level of your content so it’s in line with the audience your web page is targeting.
Page loading speed – Google provides a free tool https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ to test page speed. Make sure to address any issues it detects.



It’s important to look at search engine optimization as a long term process, even though there are many factors that are difficult to control in the short term by consistently producing quality engaging content you will be able to steadily improve your website’s authority over time.

If your content covers all aspects of the term being searched for and provides an answer for every question users are asking about that subject, then your content is most likely to be ranked at the top of search results related to that query.





Is Your Website Ready For Google’s Latest Mobile Update?


Google’s latest mobile algorithm update


In May 2016, Google rolled out an algorithm update which has once again increased the impact of mobile optimized websites when determining a website’s ranking for mobile search results.

Let’s take a look at Google’s first major mobile-friendly algorithm change, commonly referred to as “Mobilegeddon” to get a better understanding of how to ensure your website is not negatively affected by Google’s most recent update.

Back in early 2015, Google caused a bit of a panic for a lot of businesses with a release of a public statement on their official blog:


Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.


This announcement came as a bit of a shock to most as Google has a tendency to be very secretive about upcoming algorithm updates. The message was clear enough, if your website isn’t mobile-friendly by April. 21st, it’s search engine ranking will be penalized.

April. 21st quickly became referred to as “Mobilegeddon” and it was commonly believed that if your website wasn’t mobile-optimized by the deadline a worst case scenario was almost certain.


Was the first Mobilegeddon really that bad?


Despite all of the extremely negative predictions, after “Mobilegeddon” was implemented there didn’t seem to be any significant impact to search engine rankings. There were several reports showing the amount of mobile-friendly websites displayed for mobile search results only increased by around 3% after the update.

The reason for so many wrong predictions seemed to be a common misconception of how the Google update actually impacted search results.

The first thing to consider, the algorithm update only impacted searches performed from mobile devices. Searches from both tablets and desktop computers were not impacted. Most businesses receive the bulk of their website traffic from desktop searches and as such the update probably had very little impact on them.

Mobile-friendliness is only one of an estimated several hundred various ranking factors Google uses to determine a website’s search engine ranking for a particular search query. Which means mobile-friendliess is only really significant in situations where Google is comparing multiple sites that are equal in all other factors, in these situations the mobile-friendly site(s) will receive the better search engine ranking.


Mobilegeddon Part 2?


Google’s latest mobile friendly algorithm update was first announced back in March of 2016 on the official Google blog:


Today we’re announcing that beginning in May, we’ll start rolling out an update to mobile search results that increases the effect of the ranking signal to help our users find even more pages that are relevant and mobile-friendly.


Also mentioned in the blog post is that websites that have already been mobile-optimized should not be affected by this update. The post essentially implies that Google will be increasing the amount of impact mobile-friendliness has as a ranking factor.


How Can I Make Sure My Website Is Ready?


With Google’s focus on maximizing user experience it’s clear mobile-friendliness is not going away anytime soon as a ranking factor and is likely to become increasingly significant in future updates.

The most important thing you can do is verify that your website is in fact mobile-friendly by entering your website’s url on Google’s mobile-friendly test page.





If you get an “Awesome! This page is mobile-friendly.” message then you’re in the clear. However if your website doesn’t pass then Google will provide details as to why along with suggestions for improvement. The test only runs on the exact url entered so you will have to perform the test again for each additional url that you want to confirm is mobile-friendly.




Besides improving your search engine ranking, ensuring that your website is mobile-friendly is becoming increasingly important as internet browsing from mobile devices steadily increases every year. A website that isn’t properly mobile optimized can result in a horrible user experience and ultimately the loss of visitors and potential customers.

If your business has been considering a new website or even a mobile-friendly website re-design, Google’s most recent update is a great reason to take action now and not delay the decision any longer.

If you’re searching for a company who can create a mobile-friendly website for your business, consider our Web Design & Development services. We can build you a new fully responsive website from scratch or even upgrade your current website to be mobile-optimized.