Monday, April 13, 2015

Google Penalizes Sites that aren’t Mobile Friendly & Other Digital Spring Cleaning

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Time for some digital spring cleaning.
I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but here in South Carolina spring is definitely here. And with it comes the inevitable urge I have to throw open the windows and get my house back in order.

But this time of year isn’t just a good excuse to shine up my house, it’s also a good time to do some digital spring cleaning. There are some changes on the horizon that we all need to be ready for, and it’s important to freshen up our social media pages on a regular basis.

So let’s get to work!

Item One: Upcoming Google Changes
Take note of upcoming Google changes.
This one’s important, so listen up. As of April 21, 2015, Google will begin penalizing websites and blogs that are not mobile friendly. And it’s not going to be a small penalty either. When someone searches for something—even on a regular computer—if the site isn’t mobile friendly it will show up much lower in the rankings. Here’s a link to Google’s announcement.

If you’re not sure if your site is mobile friendly, you can use the Mobile-Friendly Test that Google has set up.

For those of us with Blogger sites, we’re in good shape. Blogger is owned by Google and was modified to be user friendly several years ago. But for those with other sites, and with self-hosted sites, I recommend you check and see if your site passes the test.

Item Two: Check Your Links
Another thing that can drastically affect your search engine ranking is the presence of broken or dead links on your blog. The negative affects are more pronounced if the links are on one of your main pages. They’re slightly less of an issue if they’re buried within an old blog post.

I recommend taking a few minutes and clicking on every live link on the main page of your site. I know it sounds like a lot of work, but it’s important that these links work. First because of the search engine issue, but also because a dead link irritates and frustrates your audience.

Update any social media changes
Item Three: Update any Social Media Changes
If you’ve added a new network to your list of go-to social media sites, be sure there’s a link to follow/friend you on it.

Item Four: Tidy Up Your Blog’s Sidebar
It’s easy for things to get out of order in your blog’s sidebar. But these gadgets/widgets are vitally important when you’re growing an online presence. Make certain they’re in the order of importance you assign them.

It’s also important to toss any gadgets/widgets that are no longer relevant. Spring cleaning isn’t just about organizing, it’s also about getting rid of the junk that’s accumulated.

Item Five: Give Your Site a Facelift
Spring is a good time to update the overall look of your site. This could be a minor font color change, or a major overhaul. If you’re thinking about making a few changes, I’d say the time is right.

All of these may seem like minor tweaks. But each one can have a major impact if it’s in disarray. Now it’s your turn. What digital spring cleaning tips do you have to share? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Don’t forget to join the conversation!

Google to penalize sites that aren't mobile friendly & more digital spring cleaning @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Don't let your #blog get penalized by Google, make sure it's mobile friendly - via @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)


  1. Great article. I am going to go do some spring cleaning now.

  2. Do you know if Wordpress blogs have this problem? It's good to know that Blogger is safe.

    I just updated a few things on my website. Good timing. The area I forget to update are links on my Pages. I better get busy. Thanks!

    1. Mary, the free version of WordPress is good to go. If you have a self-hosted site, I think you need to check. Good question, Blessings, E

  3. Fantastic article, Edie! Must share with everyone. Thanks.

  4. Once again, such important information on social media. Edie, you rock this category better than any other writerly site!

    1. Michelle, thanks for your encouragement and support!!! Hugs, E

  5. Thanks for these tips, Edie. I checked my Wordpress site (before reading Mary's comment :) ), and it tested good to go, thankfully. :)

    I haven't checked my widgets recently. Guess I need to get on that one. And checking my links. Thanks so much for another great post!

    1. Jeanne, I recently checked a widget and discover it had gone bad. So I added that to my "check regularly" list! Blessings, E

  6. Thanks for sharing this, Edie! Right now I have blogger, but I know I have some maintenance to do :)

  7. Thanks for this article, Edie. I had no idea Google was doing this. I'm using It did NOT pass the mobile friendly test. I am at a loss about what to do next. I've contacted my host/server to see if they can figure out how to fix it.

  8. Thank you. It isn't Mobile Friendly

  9. Thanks Edie for the heads up on Google. Going there right now. I so appreciate your diligence to keep us updated.

  10. Wow, that was easy...and my wordpress blog site is good to go! Thanks again Edie!

  11. Ooops! I'm not Google friendly. But I'm getting a new website so I probably won't do anything with the one that's up. Thanks for the information.

  12. I'm like some of the other commenters -- had no idea this was about to be an issue. My Wordpress sites all checked out (both .org and .com), so that was good to know. But each had a couple of things that were 'blocked by robots.txt.' I'll be making time to dig into that during the next few days. Thanks for the heads up!

  13. Thanks so much. My site failed and so did PlantingRoots. Got some work to do!

  14. I'm so glad my site passed the test! Thanks for the update, Edie. I had not heard of this either.