Google wants my site to be Mobile Friendly?
Making your site mobile friendly is more important than ever
Is that even a real question? Without a doubt, Google wants to be your interface to queries and provide the fastest search results possible. If Google is the most used search engine, a mobile screen is the most used device in this millennia. The varied sizes of device screens have continuously challenged the developers of quality websites to make their websites and software applications more and more user friendly.
Google ranks mobile-ready websites higher
What’s new is that Google is out with a new update to its algorithm; ensuring websites are optimized to perform on mobile screens. The mobile friendly algorithm update will hit websites which do not respond to different screen sizes or take longer to load on different screen sizes. In short, Google wants your website to be mobile friendly.
Websites fine tuned for greater performance on mobile devices will rank higher, starting immediately (April 21). Further, relevant mobile app content will also be available through Google searches.
It is no secret that Google prefers websites with White Hat SEO strategies in place. This includes page titles, alt-text, meta descriptions for all pages, links, images, and other content. Websites that load within 1-3 seconds are preferred. But now, only websites that are mobile-friendly will rank on all mobile searches.
You can check for yourself whether your website pages are mobile friendly or not by using the Google Webmaster free tool. This tool will give you a brief analysis and pointers as to what is required to make your website compliant with the new update.
Here is a basic list of acceptable ways to make your website mobile friendly:
- Create a separate website only for mobile devices
The oldest way that still works is by creating a separate mobile website. This is how the early adopters of mobile optimization did things; a separate m.domain.com is created and operates with the subset of content made available to the domain.
- Detect and deliver different code by Dynamic Serving
Another method often used is dynamic serving. Here, the URL remains the same, but the HTML changes. In this method, upon detecting the kind of device the viewer is using, the web page dynamically offers the appropriate view.
- Design your site to be “Responsive” – usually the BEST approach
The most suitable solution is switching to a responsive design. This involves optimizing the styling features of the website in such a way that you don’t have to create multiple websites for different devices and the single website just adapts to the size of the screen.
However, making your website responsive requires you to change a whole lot of styling options both from the back end and front end. This might involve a lot of design and redesign work depending on the size of your website. This is not only an expensive, but a time consuming affair although, the results are almost always more fruitful.
This is the best and most effective way to ensure mobile-friendliness across screens. A consistent experience greets the user with increased efficiency. The load time and performance is also faster. The advantage here is that since it doesn’t create two copies of the same website, there is no multiplicity of data. Thus, it is easier to manage for the crawling Google bots, helping Google index more content faster. The marketers managing the page also don’t have to double up their efforts. Most importantly the viewer only has one URL to go to and the website adapts as the user switches screens; the transitions are seamless. Constantly improving user interfaces and engaging user experiences are now focused on responsive designs.
This new update from Google is a positive sign for both the users and businesses, and will only hurt websites who haven’t yet realised that mobile is the future. Quicker and relevant search results will definitely help improve conversions. In the coming days there will be more such changes, from other search engines included, focusing on improving the user experience on mobile devices and penalizing those webpages not optimized for mobile friendliness.
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