You may have recently read about Google changing search results to favor pages that are considered "mobile-friendly." This raises a lot of good questions about how your website or search rankings could be affected. We've had several clients ask us about this recently, and we wanted to put together a quick summary of what this might mean for you.
Google's Big Change
In April, Google implemented a major change to its algorithm for compiling search results. Whether or not your site is considered to be mobile-friendly is now a metric used to rank pages. It is the latest part of a big push by Google to improve the Internet landscape for mobile users and evolve beyond the desktop-based Internet experience of the past.
For now, this change will mainly be limited to search results served to users on mobile devices. However, with more and more web traffic coming from smart phones, tablets and other mobile platforms, this almost certainly impacts your site already. Even if you have a solid page rankings on desktop-based searches, don't expect it to stay that way if your site is not mobile-friendly.
What is Mobile Friendly?
An example of content displayed across multiple devices using responsive design.
Building pages that work well on mobile devices is a trend that has been around since the early days of web-capable cell phones. This trend has exploded over the last 5 years with more and more users experiencing the web primarily through their mobile devices.
It used to be acceptable to have a separate, mobile-only website. These were small, limited versions of your site that included your contact info, some very basic quick-links, and summarized content. These sites no longer cut it. Multi-device browsing is here to stay. Your full website — every page — needs to work well and be consistent on a mobile device, or desktop.
By implementing a responsive design, your website's layout will adapt to the resolution of the device it is being viewed on. All of your content is in front of the user. We eliminate the need to scroll horizontally, or zoom-in to read text or interact with the site. Large graphics are eliminated and there is an emphasis on fast page loads and a streamlined design.
Do You Pass Google's Test?
Yes, there really is a test. Check it out for yourself. Your page will either pass or fail this test. If the page is not considered mobile-friendly, a check list will explain why the site failed, and you can even see a mobile screenshot of the page.
PressEnter & Responsive Design
The good news is that we have been building mobile-friendly websites for a while now. Nearly all new websites that we've launched in the last 3 years include a responsive design. If your site is older than that, it might be a good time to think about making some updates anyway.
What to do next?
If your site fails Google's mobile-friendly test, there are a couple of options to look at.
Option 1: If your site has remained largely unchanged for several years, now might be a good time to look at a site-wide redesign. This will give you an opportunity to implement a responsive layout, give your site a fresh look, a modern design and improve your content for multi-device browsing.
Option 2: If you're relatively happy with the design of your website, we can look at converting the existing layout into a responsive design. It will certainly be less of an investment than a site-wide redesign. Your content will remain the same, but the template around it will be modified to work on mobile devices.
We offer a Free Initial consultation to talk about your options and develop a game plan with your goals in mind. This will be a good opportunity for you to learn more about the shift to a mobile-friendly web and start thinking about how your site can be part of this change. Contact us today to get started.