By the end of 2014, eMarketer predicts that upwards of 4.55 billion people will own a mobile phone, and 1.75 billion of those will be smartphones. Ostensibly, that means by years end more than one in six people on the planet will own a smartphone. That’s a truly impressive figure, and one that every real estate professional should take note of.
It’s no longer enough to just have a website, no matter how many bells and whistles are dangling from it, because – if you’re reading this from a mobile phone, it’s something you might have already suspected – people are more and more surfing the Web through the confines of their fingers; and, as most of us know, not all websites are mobile friendly.
If your site isn’t designed to adjust to the considerably smaller screens of smartphones – though they have been reaching micro-laptop sizes in recent years – it’s not simply a hassle to look through your content, it’s nearly impossible.
Acknowledging the growing epidemic of websites not endowed with automated scaling, Google has announced it will soon begin labeling websites as “mobile-friendly” if they meet a certain criteria.
“We see these labels as a first step in helping mobile users to have a better mobile web experience,” the company said in a statement.
So What Should You Do?
The hurdles preceding the search engine’s designation aren’t mammoth, but they are explicit. In order to obtain the “mobile-friendly” labeling, agents will need to ensure their websites offer:
- Text that is readable without having to zoom in.
- Avoid software, like Flash, that’s notoriously difficult to view on mobile.
- Automatically sizes the website to fit the screen.
- Links that are spaced far enough apart so that visitors can easily tap them.
From a cursory glance, having the “mobile friendly” designation might not seem worth the effort, but for someone who’s glued to their smartphones, as so many of Americans are, it can be the difference between visiting the site and saying, “no thanks.”
If you’re not sure whether your site meets Google’s criterion, that’s fine. The tech giant has set up a very intuitive Mobile-Friendly Test, in which agents can type in their URL and get a quick look at how mobile friendly their site really is. In case you’re wondering, we passed the test.
While the designation strategy is still in its infancy, Google admits that in the long-term, mobile friendliness could impact rankings, which could negatively impact the businesses of those agents unwilling to adapt.