Is your website responsive?

On Tuesday, April 21, 2015, Google made a change in its search results algorithm and it was a massive one. How massive? If your website was not mobile friendly, Google probably dropped it from it’s mobile search index.

Google announced the change on its Webmaster Central Blog back in February. They explain:

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.

What does it mean?

This means, if your website is not mobile friendly or does not render properly on mobile phones and tablets, Google will push your website down in the local search engine rankings.

So if your website is not fully optimized for mobile devices, you are likely to see a drop in your ranking on mobile searches. Not a good thing at all. This is going to affect mostly the small local businesses who were either ignorant about this scenario or their web design company did not care to inform them about it.

But how can you be sure about it? Check this tool from Google, put your website name and test if it is mobile friendly.

Check if your website is mobile friendly or not.  You will get either of the following screens.

 

Non responsive web design

A website fails Google’s mobile-friendly test. The website design is not responsive.

 

Responsive web design

Our own website www.hexadesigns.in passes Google’s mobile-friendly test.

How to achieve a mobile friendly website?

Use Responsive web design

Responsive web design is Google’s first choice of design. It can be implemented by several frameworks like Bootstrap and Polymer. The main advantage is, it does not create two copies of the same website. Viewers only have one URL to go to (www.example.com) and the website will render as they move from one device to another. Google loves this.

Use Dynamic URL

An older and outdated technique. Or more precisely some web design companies use their customers to  pay more for mobile compatibility. Here the URL stays the same but the HTML is served according to the device requesting the website. For mobile phones it will be a different HTML, for desktops it will be a different HTML. For example for desktop it can be www.example.com while for mobiles it will be www.example.com/mobile/. The disadvantage is you are serving two URLs and which will require maintenance and updates of both URLs. Not a recommended method really.

Make a separate mobile website

Finally a complete separate mobile website. The URL changes and typically becomes http://m.example.com. Where m stands for mobile. Note that the mobile website is dynamically served but the URL changes at the same time. Now the main disadvantage of this again is – you have to maintain two versions of your website. Anyone who accidentally clicks on the mobile link, possibly shared through social media or email or a website link, but while on a desktop computer will see the wrong version of the website and will have no clue whatsoever. Facebook serves it’s mobile version this way.

Why Google likes Responsive Web Design as #1?

  • Your website visitors have a seamless experience. Google cares and gives priority to your website visitor’s comfortableness and experience. Responsive design provides the visitor a pretty seamless and fine experience browsing your website. It just adapts and re-positions the elements based on the viewer’s device. A very consistent experience.
  • Google has to spend less resources to index only one version of your website. Which means, less work for the Googlebot and more accurate indexed data.
  • Rather than maintaining two versions of the same website one for the mobile and one for desktop, it is easier and economic to maintain one version of the website. It also requires no redirection of users based on their device, which speeds up the load time of your website and a faster website is always a better website.

The questions that are now lingering in your mind

Do I have to re-design my website now to make it mobile friendly?
Yes if you care about your online presence.

Is my website permanently penalized if I don’t optimize for mobile?
The more you delay, the more tough it will be to regain your position. Imagine you are at #2 position for keyword. You have a non mobile friendly website. So in April end you fall to say #80 position. If you start work for mobile friendliness, you can regain the #2 position pretty soon. But if you simply do not care about it, you might never see #2 ever again.

Anything that I should avoid to make it mobile friendly?
Flash videos. Flash animation. Flash sound clips. Even if you use a responsive design but have a flash animation in it, your website (most likely) will still be treated as non mobile friendly website. So it is better to avoid any Flash element on your website.

Still wondering what to do?

We can re-design your website to a mobile friendly one. Check out our website development services.

Hexadesigns is a web design company in Kolkata. We design and develop websites, custom software, ecommerce, mobile apps and do search engine optimization. This is our own blog where we provide potential tips for the common people just from our experience.

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