Google’s New Mobile-Friendly Ranking Algorithm for WordPress Site

WordPress allows you to both host your site directly on wordpress.com and/or use WordPress purely as the software powering your website that’s hosted on your own domain.

Before you begin

We recommend backing up your site before making any changes or updates. That way you’ll have a copy of it to restore if necessary.

If you’re not sure how to backup your WordPress site, follow the WordPress backup documentation. If you find it difficult, seek support within the WordPress support forums or browse for help in our own webmaster support community.

My site is hosted on WordPress.com

If you host your site on wordpress.com (e.g. mysite.wordpress.com), good news!

WordPress automatically presents a mobile-friendly theme for your site depending on your current installed theme and the mobile platform of the visitor. More information can be found WordPress’ mobile theme support page.

I’m using WordPress on my own domain

1. What WordPress version and theme am I using?

1.1. How can I check it?

Check your WordPress version using one of the following methods:

  • Check your Administration Panel. For the latest WordPress installations, the version number appears near the top of the Dashboard as seen below. For older versions, the version number may appear in the footer.
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WordPress Dashboard

 

 

 

  • Go to the web site that has WordPress installed. Use your web browser’s “view source” function and search the page for the generator meta tag, which provides the version number. Example: <meta name="generator" content="WordPress 3.9.2" />
  • The WordPress version number is also located in the file /wp-includes/version.php, and can be viewed in a text editor. If this file is on a remote server, FTP programs often allow you to view the contents of remote text files.

Find more about how to check your version in the WordPress Installation FAQs

Note: If you feel lost at this point, we would advise you to stop or delegate this task to an expert. If you’re feeling brave, WordPress offers both support and documentation.

Go to the Administration Panel and from there pick Appearance -> Themes.

Check if your theme requires an update.

1.2. Update your version and theme if required.

If your WordPress version isn’t the latest available, we strongly recommend you update your WordPress installation to the latest version by following the Updating WordPressdocumentation. An update to the latest version will automatically apply needed security upgrades and may make your site mobile-friendly.

If a newer version of your theme is available, it may now be mobile-friendly.

1.3 Check your URL again with the Mobile Friendly Test tool

Test your URL in the Mobile-Friendly Test tool now that your website software version or themes are up to date. If you get a “mobile-friendly” score, you’re done!

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If the site isn’t mobile-friendly, consider changing theme and/or customizing the current one. We have compiled the following documentation to guide you through the process.

2. How can I make my WordPress installation mobile-friendly?

2.1 I want to convert my entire site to a new, mobile-friendly theme.

This choice usually means that you want a theme that employs modern responsive designprinciples. The biggest advantage of responsive design is that your site will look good on both desktop and mobile browsers by adapting to every type of browser it encounters using the same HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code.

Check if the theme you are currently using has an update available, and if that update is mobile-friendly.

Updating the theme may be all you need to do. Updating your theme is usually a good idea anyway, as your site will receive critical security fixes as an additional benefit.

Themes typically have a live demo page. It’s best to visit these pages not only on a desktop but also on a mobile device to see if the theme behaves to your needs. The simplest way is to visit the theme demo page on a mobile device.

If you don’t have a mobile device available, there are alternatives:

  • If you are using Google Chrome, there is a “mobile device emulation” feature in Chrome Developer Tools. These tools are found under the Chrome menu View > Developer > Developer Tools. Visit the Device Mode documentation to learn about the emulation feature.
  • If the theme has a responsive design, a simple test is to narrow the desktop window to mobile device size. These types of themes aim to be viewable to any desktop and mobile browser by changing behavior depending on the size of the viewport (typically, this is the width of the browser). Note that this won’t work if your chosen theme changes depending on the user agent of the visiting browser, so you still may need a mobile device to be safe.

It’s also a good idea to check themes with our PageSpeed Insights tool. A high score with this tool is a good sign that your chosen theme will work well with mobile devices.

If your current theme isn’t mobile-friendly, look for another theme.

You could browse for a new responsive theme. WordPress.org maintains a themes directory. Customize your theme search with their tag filter functionality to customize your search for a theme:

These themes use the principles of responsive design. If the theme has a link to their demo, be sure to check it out on our mobile-friendly tool.

  • Browse the most popular WordPress theme downloads. Many of the most popular themes incorporate responsive design.
  • Check for keywords that use “responsive” or “mobile” in the descriptions of the theme.

Themes in the wordpress.org directory are typically compatible with the most up-to-date versions of WordPress. Confirm your theme is mobile-friendly with the PageSpeed Insights tool.

2.2 I want to keep the desktop version of my site intact, and want to provide a mobile-friendly version for mobile visitors.

If you don’t wish to change your theme, there are other options available within the WordPress platform. Third-party solutions can help by adding mobile-friendly functionality to your site. This can be done via the WordPress plugin architecture. Some solutions include:

  • Jetpack gives site owners the mobile-friendly features of hosted wordpress.com with your self-hosted site.
  • WPTouch is a plugin solution to create a separate, mobile-friendly version of your site. Your desktop themes will remain the same. For visitors from mobile devices, your site will display with a different theme. Several theme choices are available.
  • WP Mobile Detector, similarly to WPTouch, provides some themes to present visitors using a mobile device.

Please follow the steps and suggestions in section 2.2 and ensure the plugins are set to properly optimize your page for mobile.

2.3 I want to customize my current WordPress installation (themes and plugins) to make it mobile-friendly.

This is more intermediate-to-advanced material, and requires advanced HTML and CSS knowledge. Some resources include:

3. Is my WordPress site mobile-friendly now? Final check

We hope your site is now mobile-friendly and ready to be served to your mobile audience. We invite you to use the Mobile Friendly Test tool now.

If the test results are not satisfactory or you have further questions, we welcome you on our international webmaster forums for additional guidance and support.

We’re always looking to improve our documentation: feel free to fill in this form with your feedback.

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