12 May 2015

Going Mobile?

The message I received from Adsense at the beginning of the month was simple -- 'Your site's mobile-friendliness is now considered as a Google Search ranking signal' -- but what did it mean to me as a content creator for the web? A search on 'google mobile friendliness' led me to Google's Mobile-Friendly Test, where I gave it the address of this blog: chessforallages.blogspot.com. Google told me,

Awesome! This page is mobile-friendly.

Ditto for my other blogs. No surprise here, because blogspot.com is a Google service. When I gave it the address of my World Chess Championship site, the result was not so good.

Page appears not mobile-friendly:-
Text too small to read
Links too close together
Mobile viewport not set

Ditto for my 'Chess for All Ages' instructional pages. What to do? The 'Not mobile-friendly' message included a section titled 'Make this page mobile-friendly', where the sub-section 'I built this site myself' led to Mobile SEO.

Let's make sure your site shows up in search results. In these sections, learn to configure your site for multiple devices, help search engines understand your configuration, and avoid common mistakes along the way.

Now I was looking at a big chunk of work and what the heck did 'Mobile viewport not set' mean? Before tackling this, I decided to see how much traffic I'm getting from mobile devices. The data on my m-w.com server log includes a field called 'user agent', which gives me information about the browsers used by visitors to the site.

With the help of User agent [Wikipedia], I developed the table shown on the left. It's based on data from a selected period in April this year and shows the first part of the user agent that supposedly gives 'Details of the system in which the browser is running'.

The complete table counts a total of nearly 30.000 pages (HTML files) served during the selected period. While the combined iPad and iPhone counts are only 8% of the total, the term 'Safari' appears in 45% of the total, as does 'Apple'.

After this analysis it's clear that I have to address the issue of 'mobile-friendly'. In a future post I'll look at what sort of work is involved. First stop: setting the 'mobile viewport'.

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