Well the day of reckoning has arrived and it is all over the news. What once was nice-to-have, that being a mobile-friendly website, has moved up in priority to a ‘must-have’.
Back on February 26, 2015, on their Webmaster Central Blog, Google announced that starting on April 21, 2015 that they would begin to expand their use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.
Google went on to explain in this post that, “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’s reasoning behind the latest change is that as more and more people turn to mobile devices to access the internet, that their algorithms need to adapt to those usage patterns. Their main goal is to deliver the most relevant mobile-friendly content in the most timely manner, whether that content resides on a website or an indexed App.
So what does all of this mean? If someone is searching for your product or service from a mobile device and your website is not mobile friendly; in the words of Google, it will have “significant impact” on the search results. In other words, your site will be moved down in the search results if your website fails the Google test for mobile-friendliness.
It is being reported in the news as of now, that there are as many as 40% of the largest websites on the internet that do not comply with Google’s standards for being mobile-friendly.
Now, it is worth noting that at this time the expanded search algorithm put into effect on April 21, by Google will only affect mobile searches. That being said, with so many potential customers or clients using mobile devices to access the internet, having a mobile friendly website is really a necessity at this point.
Responsive Web Design – One Site that Fits All
While the trend in the past was to create an entirely separate website for mobile users, especially for larger companies, the current growing trend is to deliver one website that is designed responsively. The advantage to this approach versus creating either a mobile App, or a separate mobile-website is both efficiency of maintaining one website rather than two, and reduced development costs.
Final Thoughts about Responsive Web Design
While some have coined Google’s recent announcement as ‘Mobile-geddon’ it does act as a reminder to reassess your website for being customer-friendly. For several years I and many other web designers have been focussing on creating responsively designed websites for the purpose of better user experience. Now, we are seeing the merging of mobile-friendly design and SEO — the buzzword of the past several years.
So now you have one more good reason to invest in your online presence. If you have not updated your website in a while now may be a good time to do so.