SEOIt seems everyone that comes into your store, or those who interact with your business online, has a smartphone that they use for research before, during and after they shop. In fact, the people at comScore say that 80 percent of internet users own a smartphone and use it to search the internet. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Google now uses a website’s mobile-friendliness as a factor when it comes to ranking websites.

The scary part for business owners is that if their website isn’t mobile-friendly, there is a good possibility that their business won’t show up in a Google search, even if they did before the change was made to the search criteria.

So how do you know if your website is mobile-friendly? And, If it’s not how do you fix it so you don’t lose any business from being MIA on Google searches?

This is what Google uses to assess what websites are considered mobile-friendly:

  • They don’t use software that is not common on smartphones and other mobile devices like Flash.
  • Text is readable without zooming in.
  • The site has a responsive design that fits the content to the screen, allowing users to interact with the site without having to scroll horizontally or zooming in to read.
  • Links are placed at a far enough distance so users can easily tap the one they are looking to use.

Is there a foolproof way of telling if a business’s website will pass the test for the new algorithm? The simple answer is yes. Google is now offering everyone a free assessment tool that will see if a website is, in fact, mobile-friendly or not. If you get a passing grade, congratulations you are fully optimized and will still be included in Google searches. Click here to be directed to the free assessment tool.

If your site gets a failure message after the assessment, don’t worry! All is not lost. You’ll get a few easy to understand reasons that your site isn’t considered mobile-friendly. Use these as a road map to fixing the problem and getting you back onto the rankings where your business belongs.

But, what if your site requires a little more heavy lifting than you have the time, or skill set, to fix? There are a number of website builders that offer mobile-friendly templates so you can be off and running after the updates are made. For those looking for free or inexpensive templates that include a responsive design, visit templatemonster.com, templated.co or html5up.net.

This may seem like a tedious exercise, but as they say in real estate - it’s all about location, location, location. If your customers are using their mobile devices more than computers for their internet searches, it’s imperative for your business to be mobile-friendly so that you’re both top of mind, and top of the search engine results.

Still have questions, or want to help others make mobile-friendly sites? Then visit the Webmaster Help Forum that Google has set-up to help make the web better for all users.