ProPhoto, Mobile Layout, and Google SEO

By now, you may have heard that Google announced they plan to expand mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor this April – specifically, that sites which are mobile-friendly may rank more highly when someone searches Google using a mobile device. They’ll also be labeling sites which are mobile-friendly.

"mobile-friendly" appears next to search results

“mobile-friendly” appears next to search results, but only for mobile search

The idea is pretty sensible: when you’re using your phone to search on Google, you would prefer that sites you find are easy to use on your phone. Seriously, who likes zooming in/out to navigate & view a web page on their phone? This is 2015 for goodness sake!

Sites which look and work well on phones should begin to bubble to the top of search results on phones in the future. This might leave you thinking:

OMG, what is this going to mean for my ranking?!!1!!

The good news is we’re way ahead of you on this. We introduced a mobile-friendly layout option way back in 2011. ProPhoto 4 and 5 both make Google happy when you use the mobile layout feature and you can confirm that your site is mobile-friendly by pasting your site’s URL address into Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool, like you see in this example test of a ProPhoto demo setup:

ProPhoto sites using the mobile layout feature should pass Google's test

ProPhoto sites using the mobile layout feature should pass Google’s test

What if my site isn’t passing this test?

ProPhoto 4 and 5 pass this test by default, so if your site doesn’t pass for some reason, you might check to make sure ProPhoto is using the mobile layout option. Just login to WordPress and go to this area to check:
“ProPhoto” > “Customize” > “Mobile” > “General”
You can turn it on if it’s not enabled.

Mobile layout can be turned on/off in ProPhoto

Mobile layout can be turned on/off in ProPhoto

If you’re turning it on for the first time, you’ll want to also customize the settings applied to your special mobile layout. The mobile footer menu appearing at the bottom of your site should be checked, since it is separate from the menu you’ve setup for desktop visitors.

If your site still doesn’t pass the test with ProPhoto’s mobile layout turned on, try disabling WordPress plugins one-by-one and re-test, since some plugins might cause trouble. If things still aren’t working out, you can always contact us for guidance.

So, what about ‘responsive’ layout?

Pundits are throwing around the term responsive a lot lately, and many are suggesting that you need a responsive site layout for this upcoming Google change. But the truth is that a site doesn’t need to use responsive layout to be considered mobile-friendly. Thousands of ProPhoto users who have great search ranking can back this up, and so can millions of other websites which rank well without responsive layout, including our own. ProPhoto optimizes your site layout for tablets and phones without using responsive layout, and your visitors will be able to view and navigate with ease on mobile devices.

But rest assured, our developers realize that great site design can include responsive layout, too – that’s why they are working hard to bring responsive features to ProPhoto later this year. We’re excited to tell you more, so stay tuned to our blog and social media pages, and you’ll get the latest info on this front as we’re able to talk more about it.

Want to learn more about SEO, search ranking, and all of that? We have an SEO FAQ page you might find interesting.

Edit: …and if you’ve not seen it yet, we strongly recommend you check out the tutorial about customizing your ProPhoto Mobile Layout settings:

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