As many readers may have heard, April 21, 2015 was M-Day - the date on which Google expanded use of "mobile-friendliness" as a ranking signal in mobile searches. That is, going forward from that date, Google will prioritize websites that are "mobile-friendly" (i.e., incorporate the "best practices" identified by Google for displaying on mobile devices) in the results of search queries run on smartphones worldwide (the change does not affect tablet or desktop searches).
Thus, if your law firm website is NOT mobile-friendly, your rankings in the results of searches run on smartphones could suffer. With the use of smartphones for web browsing growing rapidly (according to eMarketer, the number of smartphone users worldwide will surpass 2 billion in 2016, and by 2018, over one-third of consumers worldwide will use smartphones), this development will have an impact on sites that get meaningful traffic from mobile searches run on smartphones.
How do you know if your law firm website is mobile-friendly? You can plug your website's URL into Google's Mobile-Friendly Test.
If your website fails the test, what can you do to make it mobile-friendly?
There are two main approaches to making your law firm website mobile-friendly.
One option is to create a mobile-friendly version of the website that displays when your website is accessed by a mobile device. The code and the URL for the mobile-friendly version is different than the regular website. Typically, you might see an "m" in the URL to signal that the mobile version is being displayed.
The second option is to use what is called "responsive design," which is a setup where your webpages display the same URL and use the same code whether the user is on a desktop computer, tablet, or mobile phone, but the display adjusts or “responds” according to the screen size. Thus, when the website is viewed, for example, on a smartphone, the URL doesn't change, but the layout does.
Google has expressed a strong preference for sites using responsive design (scroll down to tip #3). You can review the list of reasons for this preference at the following link (scroll down to the bottom of the page).
We have begun working with individual law firm clients to convert their websites to mobile-friendly responsive designs. Please contact us if you'd like to discuss making your law firm website mobile-friendly.