Google wants YOUR website to be mobile friendly right NOW…Is it?

Is your website mobile friendly?

According to Google’s Webmaster Blog, “To improve the mobile search experience, after January 10, 2017, pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly.”

What does this mean for your business?  

If you want to rank highly on Google’s search results, your website has to be considered mobile friendly.

 

What does mobile friendly even mean?

When you open a business’s website on your phone and you have to pinch the screen to zoom in so that you can read it, that is indicative of a non-mobile friendly site.  The website does not distinguish how it shows up based upon the device on which it is being viewed.  If you make it more difficult for someone on your website to access information, they are much more likely to leave.

 

Why did Google do this?

According to Marketing Land, 60% of consumers time is spent browsing the internet on their mobile devices.  Additionally, 75% of people will search on their phone for a business that they want to connect with  (Google Partners).

Google wants to make browsing the internet as easy and as safe as possible for the average web user.  Therefore, they are going to return websites in the search results that they believe exhibit these traits.  If you are not one of these websites, your ranking position is likely to drop.

Even worse, if your competition IS one of those mobile friendly websites, their position is likely to rise.

 

What do I need to know about Google’s mobile friendly algorithm?

Important updates to be aware of are (Search Engine Land):

  • The new mobile friendly algorithm was rolled out in January 2017
  • It is an on or off algorithm, which means that you are 100% mobile friendly or you are not
  • It will be on a page-by-page basis

 

How do I know if my site is mobile friendly?

Google has released a tool where you can check your site for mobile friendliness: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly

 

If you have employed one of the following techniques, your website will be considered mobile friendly:

  1. Adaptive Design: Your website changes the content served based on the viewing device.
  2. Responsive Design: Your website has a fluid layout that changes based on the viewing device.
  3. Mobile-Only site: You have a separate mobile site that shows only on mobile devices.  This is no longer recommended because Google indexes your mobile site only.

 

What should I do if my website is not mobile friendly?  I want to be returned highly in the search results!

If you do not have a mobile friendly website, there are four options to explore.

  1. Additions to Existing Website:  You can make responsive additions to your existing website that will allow the site to account for the viewing device.
  2. Website Redesign:  You can redesign your website as a responsive website, which will ensure that it shows properly on all devices.  Additionally, you can add in other changes for other Google updates, such as the new SSL requirement.
  3. Create a Separate Mobile Site:  You can keep your site as is and have a mobile site that is served only to mobile users.  Again, this is not recommended because Google now indexes your mobile site only.
  4. Do Nothing: If you do not want to rank highly on Google’s search algorithm, then you can leave your site as is.

 

Need help implementing options one, two or three?  Contact IFTS, Inc. for more details.

 

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What is Responsive Web Design and Do I Need It?

Responsive web design, or RWD, is a method of changing how your website displays and interacts with the user, depending upon the device that is being used.  Most websites that are being designed today use responsive web design because mobile devices are now more prevalent than ever.  In fact, mobile users surpassed desktop users in 2014.  Another reason RWD is so popular?  A website designed for a desktop does not typically display well on a mobile device.  You have 8 seconds to make an impression with your site.  If a web visitor has to zoom or change their viewing settings while on a phone, they are less likely to stay on that site.

Previously, some sites had a mobile version and a desktop version based on the user’s device.  However, the mobile version’s functionality was normally watered-down and the site contained less information.  Users did not want to have to make sacrifices when using a tablet or phone.  Therefore, responsive web design was an answer to that issue.  All of the information and functionality is available; it is just displayed differently depending upon the device.

An excellent example of responsive web design is Integrity First Corporation’s newly designed website.  The three screenshots below show what the site looks like on a desktop, a tablet and a phone:

INFDesktopExampleImage
Figure 1. INF Desktop Screenshot

Figure 1 is the site on a desktop.  Note how the main menu and social media information is to the far right.

INFTabletExampleImage
Figure 2. INF Tablet Screenshot

Figure 2 is the site on a tablet.  Note how the main menu and social media information go across the whole top of the page now because the available screen display is reduced.  Additionally, the mountain picture is smaller and has lesser resolution to speed load time.

INFPhoneExampleImage
Figure 3. INF Mobile Phone Screenshot

Finally, Figure 3 is the site on a mobile phone.  Because phones have a much smaller processor in them, the main picture drops completely and only the information is displayed to increase load time.  The menu is now a drop-down in the upper-right hand corner so that it takes up less valuable viewing space.  Additionally, the phone number is now a link that when touched, will prompt your phone to dial it.

If you are in the process of creating or revamping your website, you should make sure that it is responsive.  Though it takes a bit longer to design and build the site in the beginning, it should pay off in the end through customers that love your easy-to-use, responsive website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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