Mobile Friendly Websites and Google

  • Mobile Friendly Websites and Google

    Just last month Google rolled out its ‘Mobile Friendly Update’ dubbed ‘Mobilegeddon’ by some!

    For some time now Google has been making recommendations around the mobile experience; so it’s really no surprise that it’s now becoming a part of their algorithm.

    We first brought this topic to the fore in 2013 with our article ‘Mobile Website Design’, and even then the concept was not new. However, since that time, virtually every site we’ve developed has been Mobile Responsive.

    One point we should highlight since writing that article, is that Google’s has refined its interpretation of ‘Mobile Friendly’. Simply being able to use your site on a mobile device (i.e. not using flash etc.), is no longer sufficient; the new algorithm requires  that you now either need a dedicated mobile site, or a mobile responsive site in order to gain Google favour.

    So what does this actually mean?

    Basically this update will impact on how websites are ranked by search engines. If your site is not optimized for mobile devices, then it is likely that it will be lower in the search results than those that are.

    However it’s important to note that this will only impact upon searches conducted on mobile devices, so rankings based on desktop/laptops searches should be unaffected, according to Google.

    So How Important is this?

    Well that depends; firstly if you are not already ranking high in search results, then the impact of this will be largely irrelevant for you.

    Secondly every market is different as are the web browsing habits of users’ searches for products and services.

    However  our experience is that B2B (Business to Business) websites can now typically expect 30-40% of users to be accessing their sites using  a mobile device or tablet, with B2C (Business to Consumer) even higher at  50-60% plus.

    So to answer the question, if you are currently reliant on search traffic to generate leads for your business, then this is likely to be critical for your business.

    It is also important to bear in mind that it’s not simply about the traffic, it’s about conversion.

    Even if your site had been attracting high traffic levels, before this algorithm update; converting visits to engagement, and through to sales, could have been hindered if your site was not Mobile Friendly.

    The customer experience is fundamental in this respect and making it easy to browse is common sense, regardless of Google intervention.

    How do I check if my site is Mobile Friendly?

    This one is easy,  thanks to Google who have provided a tool to check this. Simply follow this link https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/.

    This will then tell you if the site is Mobile Friendly.

    You will also notice when using Google on a mobile device, that it states next to the result (under the main heading and before the meta description) if the site is mobile friendly or not.

    Dedicated Mobile Site or Mobile Responsive?

    A Mobile Website is a completely separate site from your main website. This means that when a user accesses your website using a mobile device, they are automatically directed to the mobile version. This is typically an abridged version of your main site.

    Essentially a website that is coded to be ‘Responsive’ will automatically re-size and re-organise the content on the page for optimum viewing, depending on the screen size of the device being used. This displays your full site in mobile format.

    Many modern sites are Mobile Responsive, and this is becoming the default choice today, particularly due to the variety of smart phone and tablet screen sizes available.

    Previously, Google had stated a preference for ‘Mobile Responsive’, but with this latest algorithm update they have revealed that they are not giving preference to one or the other. They are, however, recommending that if you do opt for a dedicated mobile site you should check that they are able to properly ‘crawl’ the mobile pages.  

    If you have any questions about Mobile Responsive or even more general web or SEO queries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Often we can make an existing website ‘Mobile Responsive’ without the need to completely re-develop the site.