When Higher Logic began the Bootstrap transition in 2013 we knew that it was going to be a big effort. It has proven to be so - thousands of hours of Higher Logic time across all our departments has been dedicated to the goal of a mobile-friendly baseline. Clients have also invested significant resources to revise their sites on the updated platform.
This much effort was necessary because, basically, the internet changed. Mobile devices are the primary devices used for accessing webpages. Higher Logic anticipated this transition and initiated the Bootstrap project, beginning with the Admin sites in 2013. Our technology needed to reflect actual use patterns. Tomorrow, Google is making a major change for the same reason.
Starting 21 April 2015 Google will include mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. Websites that are mobile friendly will rank higher than sites that are not.
Higher Logic is ready for this change. The webpages that display Higher Logic Product Content with our baseline Bootstrap design/theme register as mobile friendly using Google's evaluator. Are there things Higher Logic client admins should do to ensure they are ready? Absolutely.
1) Evaluate webpages on the Higher Logic platform
Google provides a tool for checking individual pages. Use it. https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly
2) Check your Higher Logic content
Higher Logic's CMS allows you to make and modify your webpages. Thereby, you have the power to break your site's mobile-friendliness. Check your HTML-rich pages and the content created by your users to ensure that you won't get dinged for specific mobile failures. Tables and images, especially those with widths set to a fixed pixel width, are a common culprit. Be sure the pages Google can pass the test. This generally includes Blog posts. It may not include Discussion and Library content but this depends on your configuration.
3) Evaluate your login page
Most Higher Logic clients have login happening on another site - generally the AMS or database back-end's website. If that page is not mobile-friendly your site's indexing will suffer. If your home page requires login your entire site may get dinged as non-mobile-friendly for that single page alone.
4) Complete your Bootstrap transition
Are you among the 40% of clients who have not yet completed your transition to the new Bootstrap/R2 codebase? We are ready to help you. Just open a ticket with the ticket system to get started.
5) Up your game on mobile web standards.
There are a lot of resources out there. Some good ones are linked in this Google blog from late last year.
This is just the latest example of the larger internet providing incentive to meet mobile standards. As is the case here, you can expect these incentives to be all stick and no carrot going forward. Please let us know how Higher Logic can help you meet your challenges via posts in our Community Discussion forums.