You may have heard the term “mobile-friendly” a few times if you have your own website. It might seem like another buzzword, but it isn’t. The fact is you lose traffic when your website isn’t mobile-friendly because users have decreasing patience with ill-fitted sites on their phones and Google penalizes sites in mobile search for not being mobile-friendly.

Google’s Mobile Algorithm Change

During April 2015, Google updated its algorithm to place more importance on whether or not a website is mobile-friendly. Any website that wasn’t mobile-friendly disappeared from mobile search results. It makes sense why Google made this change. Mobile users become frustrated when they land on a website that takes forever to load or has links that are squished too close together.

With how easy it is to have a mobile-friendly site, you would think everyone would already have one. Most of the free WordPress themes are mobile-friendly, after all. However, marketing firm Merkle/RKG found that 29% of the top 500 retail companies and just about half of Fortune 500 companies didn’t have mobile-friendly websites. Therefore, you could likely gain an advantage by switching to a responsive website design before competitors who haven’t. You don’t want to be the one who’s losing out on mobile rankings.

Mobile Usage Has Been Increasing Each Year

Internet use through mobile phones has consistently been increasing over the years. According to ComScore, in 2014, mobile traffic surpassed desktop and has remained in the lead since then. Adults in the United States use their mobile devices an average of 2 hours and 51 minutes every day. With so many people using smartphones to search the web, you cannot afford to have a site that isn’t responsive. You may be able to get away with it for now, but in the future it will be less acceptable to mobile users. Not to mention, Google has already started penalizing websites that aren’t mobile-friendly, so you simply won’t show up in mobile search.

Decrease Your Bounce Rate and Click Back Rate

Bounce rate and click back rate are two percentages you want to be low for your website. A high bounce rate means that most visitors leave your website without clicking on another page. Click back, however, means a user immediately hits the back button after landing on a page of your website. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, then many users through mobile aren’t going to stay on your site, which will result in a higher bounce rate and click back rate. Google considers these two factors when ranking webpages in the SERPs (search engine results page).

How Do You Know If Your Website is Mobile-Friendly?

It takes a few seconds to find out if your website is mobile-friendly. Enter your website URL into Google’s free mobile-friendly test tool. If your website fails the test, the tool will let you know why, so that you can fix that element in your web design. You should also check your most important individual pages to see if they’re mobile-friendly. Sometimes a certain page on your site won’t show up neatly on a mobile phone screen.

Aim to Have a Responsive Website

Having a mobile-friendly website is the bare minimum you should have. If you really want your site to perform well with mobile traffic, then you must create a responsive website. Responsive web design adjusts your website based on the particular screen size and type of phone its being viewed on. A responsive website will often condense the navigation menu, turn multiple columns into one, and simplify the overall appearance for mobile users.


Your website should be mobile-friendly because it has become an important ranking signal in Google and an increasing number of people search from their smartphones. You’re letting money slip through your fingers when you ignore mobile traffic. For the best results, invest in responsive web design, so that your website is not only mobile-friendly but adjusts itself based on the visitor’s screen size and type of phone. A website that is just mobile-friendly will display the same version on all phones, which can result in some people still struggling to read your content due to their particular cell phone model.