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Importance of Mobile Friendly Websites

by Travis Snyder, Lead Web Developer / 05-06-2015

If you have a website, April 21st 2015 was an important date. On that day Google pushed out an update to their search engine algorithms that will may now impact your search ranking depending on whether or not your site is responsive/mobile friendly or has a mobile sub site.

What is a mobile sub site? A mobile sub site is a separate site that users with mobile phones or tablets are directed to where regular desktop users would stay directed to your main website.

What is Responsive Web Design (RWD)? Wikipedia defines it as "an approach to web design aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones)."

Let's explore RWD and the benefits or converting your site to a responsive site aside from what I mentioned earlier about how your site can now be impacted from search ranking by Google.

Responsive Web Design:

-Makes it easier for users to share and link to your content with a single URL.

-Helps Google's algorithms accurately assign indexing properties to the page rather than needing to signal the existence of corresponding desktop/mobile pages.

-Requires less engineering time to maintain multiple pages for the same content.

-Reduces the possibility of the common mistakes that affect mobile subsites.

-Requires no redirection for users to have a device-optimized view, which reduces load time. Also, user agent-based redirection is error-prone and can degrade your site's user experience.

-Saves resources when Googlebot crawls your site. For responsive web design pages, a single Googlebot user agent only needs to crawl your page once, rather than crawling multiple times with different Googlebot user agents to retrieve all versions of the content. This improvement in crawling efficiency can indirectly help Google index more of your site's content and keep it appropriately fresh.

Now for the scary question that many have regarding the Google update and those of you who haven't converted your site to responsive web design:

Will my site / page disappear on mobile search results if it's not mobile-friendly?

Google states: while the mobile-friendly change is important, we still use a variety of signals to rank search results. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal -- so even if a page with high quality content is not mobile-friendly, it could still rank high if it has great content for the query.

That may put some at ease but the truth is given this roll out and impact, it very well could hurt your website ranking. Why take the risk?

If you are unsure if your website is responsive or has a mobile subsite, Google offers a mobile friendly test for free that you can utilize by entering in your website address by clicking here.

Do you need a mobile friendly website? Contact us today!

"Day by day, the number of devices, platforms, and browsers that need to work with your site grows. Responsive web design represents a fundamental shift in how we'll build websites for the decade to come." - Jeffrey Veen