How does mobile-friendliness affect Google search rankings?
Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.” (Google Webmaster Central Blog, 2015)
In other words, if you want your website to rank higher on searches for different size devices such as mobile phones or tablets, it is in your best interest to begin implementing a mobile-friendly layout. If you are new to the concept, Google provides the "Google Guide to Mobile-Friendly Websites," whichcovers the basic information, requirements and steps for creating a mobile-friendly site. This guide contains tips that relate to being able to perform online tasks easily and choosing themes that remain consistent throughout varying devices.
Is my website mobile-friendly?
There are a number of free online tests that will run checks on your website to determine its level of mobile-friendliness. Websites such as http://responsivetest.net/ and http://www.responsinator.com/ are good test sites that allow visitors to see what thier site will look like when displayed on different screen sizes (i.e. desktop, tablet or mobile).
Google also has a Mobile-Friendly Test specifically directed towards their new search algorithm. Instead of presenting a site on different devices, Google’s test checks to see if the website passes certain mobile-friendly requirements that are taken into consideration by their search algorithm. Because this is the test that a website must pass in order to meet the new search algorithm’s criteria, it is a must for those who want to rank higher in mobile Google searches.
Should I implement mobile-friendliness on my website?
Yes, if you want to obtain the maximum potential your site has for being searched, you should. In today’s technological setting, over half of all web searches are performed through mobile devices. Cisco claims that “Global mobile data traffic grew 69 percent in 2014. Global mobile data traffic reached 2.5 exabytes per month at the end of 2014, up from 1.5 exabytes per month at the end of 2013” (Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI), 2015). While mobile traffic rapidly increases, companies realize they need to incorporate new marketing tactics such as creating a clear mobile-friendly agenda for their web properties. eMarketer predicts that “in 2015, mobile search will surpass desktop, and by 2018, mobile search ad spending will make up 76.7% of all digital search ad spending” (eMarketer, 2014).
What are ways I can make my website mobile-friendly?
There are multiple solutions to making your site mobile-friendly. Three main options entail creating a mobile application version or a mobile version of your website, or implementing responsive web design (RWD) to your website. At Achieve Internet, we strongly believe RWD is the best solution to creating a mobile-friendly website.
Mobile applications are also a popular option. An application can display your site’s content in a simple, user-friendly fashion. Since Google now incorporates app indexing, an organizations mobile app can also be searched on Google. App indexing presents “deep links to your app [that] appear in Google Search results on Android so users can get to your native mobile experience quickly and easily” (Google Developers). However, applications are very specific to a business compared to a blog or news app that feeds information. Building a complete business-specific app takes siginicant time, effort, and planning. It can also become a costly option since there are a plethora of unique deliverables and technical development requirements involved.
Mobile versions of a website can also be created to provide users with a mobile-friendly experience. Mobile websites utilize a different URL than your main site, and are made to display easily-digested versions of its content. This means a mobile website might have bigger buttons and more spread out content, making it easier for the user to access what they need on the site. Although, one big problem with creating a mobile version is that there may be content that gets left out. Some aspects of the original website make layouts or functionality in a mobile version difficult and must be removed
Responsive Web Design (RWD) is a reliable option and common practice utilized in mobile-friendly web development. It allows a site to adaptively present itself on mulitple screen sizes or devices. Below is an example of the Achieve-built Grammy Amplifier website shown on a mobile device as well as a tablet and desktop.
Mobile & Tablet
Because different devices have different screen sizes, developers incorporate Cascading Style Sheets 3 (CSS3) to satisfy device display requirements. This implementation greatly improves the user experience as visitors will be able to see a clear, simple layout of the website no matter what device they are viewing on.
Should I implement RWD?
Yes, if your website focuses on presenting content in a complex manner such as an eCommerce or marketing site that requires multiple layers of functionality we recommend implementing RWD. RWD will convert all the content from your original site and make it easier to navigate on different screen sizes. Unlike updating a mobile website’s content, RWD makes it possible for mobile versions of your website to stay up to date with the original site display. It keeps all of the content available for users as well.
What do we have to look forward to?
"Many developers tell Forrester that they use responsive web design (RWD) as their web design philosophy, but the highest adoption rate by vertical is less than 20%. This suggests that many organizations are currently working on responsive website projects for the first time” (Forrester Research, 2014).
That is not the case here at Achieve, we have gained a lot of experience implementing RWD for many of our clients who’ve requested it. Because of these projects, Achieve developers have already acquired layouts and good mobile-friendly development practices. With more site owners contacting us about making their sites mobile-friendly due to Google’s new search algorithm, we will only develop more skills in RWD as we proceed.
Don’t wait until your site becomes obsolete in Google rankings and user experience. Achieve can help you get your site to be mobile-friendly and segue in to the future. As technology advances at such a rapid speed make sure your company is prepared to take advantage of all it has to offer.
For more information about mobile-friendly & responsive web design, refer to any of our previous posts: