Google Launches ‘’Mobile-Friendly’’ Label for Mobile Searchers

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Google is sending out a clear message to webmasters that they want you to build mobile-friendly websites. In an effort to help mobile searchers know which sites are mobile-friendly versus which are not, searchers will soon be able to see a new label in the search results snippets for pages that are mobile-friendly. The new label will look something like this:






Whether a site is optimized for mobile could also become a search rank signal, Google said. The label will let searchers know that the website will be easy to read and understand on their mobile device. Google explained that non-mobile friendly websites ‘’can be a frustrating experience for our mobile searches’’ and labels will make it easier for people to find the information they are looking for. Mobile-friendly labels will also encourage webmasters to build a better mobile experience.

Since this is a new addition, there is no way of knowing how it will affect click-through rates, but I think it is safe to say that mobile searchers are going to visit a page labeled ‘’mobile-friendly’’ before visiting a page that is not labeled. Why would anyone visit a page that is not optimized for his or her phone? This will certainly allow the sites that have put in the effort in earning a mobile-friendly stamp to fly high above the sites that haven’t.

So, how do you qualify to show the ‘’mobile-friendly’’ label for your web pages? Google says a page will be eligible if it meets the following criteria as detected by Googlebot:

  • Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
  • Uses text that is readable without zooming
  • Sizes content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
  • Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped

Is your site Mobile Friendly?

To ensure your pages meet the mobile-friendly criteria, run your pages through the Mobile-Friendly Test.   Google has also provided a guide for building and improving your mobile-friendly websites.

The worldwide roll out of mobile-friendly search is finally here. Is your website ready to take on the growing number of mobile searchers across the website?

How to Proxy Liferay Using Nginx


In this post we will describe the top 5 reasons to use Nginx as a proxy in front of your Liferay application.

What is Nginx?

Nginx is a light-weight and popular HTTP and reverse proxy server. According to Netcraft, Nginx today serves 20% of the top 1,000,000 busiest websites. We started using Nginx over the past couple of years to proxy our Liferay deployments for the following reasons:

  1. It’s light weight nature
  2. Ease of configuration

Although Apache is still more popular today and has been since the 90s, Apache starts to slow down under heavy loads because it has to keep spawning new processes that consume more memory and CPU time. Apache will also start refusing requests when it has reached its connection limit.

The difference with Nginx is that it is event based, asynchronous, and non-blocking by nature. A rule of thumb with Nginx deployments is to configure one worker per CPU on your server. Each worker can handle thousands of concurrent connections. This difference in architecture makes Nginx much faster and more memory efficient than Apache at serving up static files such as images, CSS and Javascript.

Market share of Nginx in top 1,000,000 busiest websites

When to use Nginx with Liferay?

You don’t have to place a proxy in front of Liferay, but it is a good idea to do so if you would like to load balance your requests across multiple Liferay instances, provide HTTP caching, or even just proxy different domains to the same Liferay instance.

It’s easier to configure SSL certificates using Nginx than doing so in Tomcat

Once we have our SSL key and certificates, all we have to do is tell Nginx about them:

ssl_certificate      /etc/nginx/server.bundle.crt;
ssl_certificate_key  /etc/nginx/server.key;

Finally, we define Nginx server blocks to listen on port 443 for SSL requests:

server {
     listen       443 ssl;

Now, we must configure Nginx as a proxy and let it know how to reach our Liferay instance. Assume our Liferay instance is located at port 8080, we configure what’s referred to as an upstream server in Nginx.

upstream liferay-app-server {
   server max_fails=3 fail_timeout=30s;

We can then use this upstream server in other configurations. In the example below we actually configure the proxy pass and pass through requests to Liferay.

proxy_set_header Host $host;
proxy_set_header X-Real-IP $remote_addr;
proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-For $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;
proxy_redirect off;
proxy_pass  http://liferay-app-server;

If you chose to use Nginx as a proxy in front of Liferay, you will also need to let Liferay know that there is a web server in front. This can be configured in your portal properties in Liferay:


The greatest benefit here is that it will always be faster to restart Nginx than to restart Liferay when loading a new SSL certificate.

Rewriting URL and other URL gymnastics

It’s common in any application to re-write URLS to make them friendlier, easier to remember or just more SEO friendly. To do this within any Java web application you have to resort to filters such as Tuckey’s, for example, to handle rewriting URLs. However, this too is much easier to do in Nginx:

 rewrite ^/web/([^./]*)$ /web/$1/ permanent;

The above rule for example enforces a trailing slash to be present at the end of each URL.

Fixing Liferay cache headers

You may have seen an issue in Liferay where IE does not recognize stylesheets as stylesheets and although they load they are not processed by IE. We ran into this last year and realized it had to do with the Liferay SASS filter failing out due to an error in one of the stylesheets. The problem here is that when this happens, Liferay still returns the stylesheet but doesn’t set the appropriate content type headers. We quickly fixed this on Nginx by enforcing the content type headers:

if ($request_filename ~* ^.+.css$) {
   add_header Content-Type text/css;
   expires 5d;

Notice that the Nginx syntax also allows for such if blocks to apply specific rules at certain conditions only. It’s fairly flexible when you look at the list of variables that are available that you can base your condition on.

Load balancing

In a clustered environment with multiple Liferay deployments you will need to add a load balancer in front of your Liferay instances. This could be an actual hardware load balancer, but since most environments we deploy on today are virtualized environments this is typically done via software load balancing. Nginx’s efficiency also lends itself to be used as a load balancer. We can use Nginx as a load balancer in several ways: 1) round-robin, 2) least-connected and 3) ip-hash. The round-robin method is one of the simplest approaches. Basically, requests are handed out to each of the instances in the unit. The ip-hash method allows you to hand out requests to specific instances based on the client’s IP address. You saw the below configuration above when we were configuring the proxy to Liferay. The same configuration with additional up stream servers is how you would configure round-robin load balancing in Nginx. You would have to look into session replication or sticky sessions in Liferay so that sessions can move between different Liferay applications. An alternative is to use the ip-hash load balancing where each application server deals with requests from the same IP range and hence requests from the same client will always be routed to the same application server. This will be left to another post.

upstream liferay-app-server {
   server max_fails=3 fail_timeout=30s;
   server max_fails=3 fail_timeout=30s;


One last use case we will cover is Nginx caching. As you might be aware, optimizing your application for performance and fast response times can be time consuming and difficult to perform. Liferay, by itself, also requires tweaking and managing its configurations so that it actually performs as well as you would want it to. Out of the box Liferay installs are not meant to be deployed to a production environment and actually require you to review your deployment and infrastructure to optimize for this. In addition to designing your application with application-level and database-level caching another area to invest in is HTTP caching.

http {
    proxy_cache_path /data/nginx/cache keys_zone=one:10m;
    server { 
       proxy_cache one;
       location / {
           proxy_pass http://localhost:8000;

Configuring caching is as easy as identifying the proxy_cache_path to define the path to where responses can be cached and finally, defining which server blocks will utilize caching via the proxy_cache directive above.

That’s all for this post. We covered 5 use cases for using Nginx and how to utilize these with Liferay.

Was this article useful?  Let us know. Or, if you have used Nginx and Liferay together in a different way, share your experiences below. We’d love to hear what others are doing in this realm.

6 SEO Pitfalls to Avoid During Your Next Website Re(Design) Final Part: Failing to think like a human

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We’ve reached the final pitfall in the 6 SEO Pitfalls to Avoid During Your Next Website Re(Design).   Failing to think like a human. This may seem obvious but it is often overlooked during the development process.

Designing your website with only SEO in mind can be a mistake. It is important to remember throughout the process that you are ultimately developing your website to try to reach your target audience. Develop a website that delights both your audience and search engines. Make sure there is a balance between creating your website for SEO and creating your website with your ideal customer in mind. Focus on creating value for your audience and delivering the user experience they would like.

The end goal is designing and developing a website that is easy for your audience to search and understand and is simple for search engines to crawl and rank.

Here are some things to think about when designing your website for a human and not a search engine:

  • Clean Design – Cluttered, randomly scattered or unorganized websites are distracting for visitors. Today’s trend is clean and clear design.
  • Colour Palette – Ensure your colour palette reflects your brand’s purpose, message and positioning.
  • Use Obvious Navigation Terms – Label your navigation items in plain English using the most universally understood terms so that users know where to go to find what they are looking for.
  • Content Creation – Focus on creating content your visitors will get value from and enjoy reading. Make sure to speak the language of your target audience.
  • Including Testimonials – Customer testimonials have the highest effectiveness rating for content marketing at 89%.
  • Make it easy for your audience – It is great when you go through a website that has exactly what you want, relevant information everywhere and fits within whatever device you are on.

Keeping your target audience in mind when you are planning a website (re)design is a critical factor in whether your website is going to be effective.  Understand your target audiences’ goals and beliefs and use this knowledge to guide your SEO strategy.


Recently (re)designed a new company website? Have any website redesign and SEO tips that worked well for you? We’d love to hear about them.