Mobile Friendly Websites & Responsive Web Design
Your website is often your first opportunity to make a good impression on potential clients, therefore, it makes sense to design your website to be appealing and easy to use. Anyone with a smartphone knows how annoying it is to follow a link to a website with tiny text that is not formatted to be read on a small screen. More often than not, people lack the patience to puzzle it out; instead, they will abandon that site and go in search of one they can actually use. As more and more people (around 50%!)are using mobile devices to access websites, you can no longer afford to follow the past model of having only one PC-friendly site and ignoring mobile device traffic.
What is a Mobile Friendly Site?
Having a mobile-friendly website means that no matter what device someone uses to search for your services, it will display in a correct and readable manner. Now, this is not the same thing as having two versions of the website—one being the full version with all the content, and one that redirects to a shrunken-down version of your website with less information for mobile users. As anyone who has found one of these unfortunate throwbacks knows, this is not the ideal solution if you want customers to use your website for information about your business, let alone to contact you for services. Instead, a website that uses responsive web design takes the same exact website that you have spent time and money and energy into perfecting and re-displays that based on the device, screen size, and resolution that someone is actually using. So, a website that is truly mobile-friendly will look just as appealing on your mobile device as it does to your PC.
Google Weighs In
Google has become the clear frontrunner for web searches, and because of this their decisions about how search algorithms work carry a lot of weight when considering how to best spend your marketing dollars. As of April 2015, Google declared that the mobile-friendliness of a website will affect its ranking on the famous search engine. In fact, Google has stated that websites that aren’t mobile optimized will suffer a “significant penalty”. Basically, this means that in the past, if you ranked #1 for a keyword on desktop, you will also rank #1 for mobile—but this will no longer be the case. These days, your search results for desktop are going to be different from your search results for mobile—so you’d better have a good mobile-friendly site. Even if you have a good desktop site, if your mobile site isn’t responsive, then you’re going to take a huge hit. The important thing to know is that this will impact no less than 30% of your search traffic, maybe more.
Test Your Site
Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that you somehow do not have access to a mobile device from which to view your own website—how will you know whether or not your site is mobile optimized? How can you find out what your site looks like on a mobile device? Simple. Google has created a testing tool. All you have to do is visit this website to find out what your website looks like to mobile device users, and most importantly, what Google thinks of your website. If the results aren’t pretty, then it’s time to go to work!
Time to Optimize
If you’re seeing big red X’s, text too small to read, links too close together, or that your mobile viewport is not set, then it’s time to make some changes. You could be missing out on a whopping 30% (or more) of search traffic, simply by not having a mobile-friendly website. The good news is that 33 Mile Radius produces amazing, fully responsive websites that display beautifully across all device types. We even have free websites that we will provide to our clients that allow you to quickly correct this issue before you miss out on even more potential customers. Again, I’ll mention the words that Google used “significant penalty.” I encourage you to visit our website or email us at [email protected] with any additional questions. We provide free website analysis, so if you have any questions just reach out and we’ll be happy to help.
|Today we’re going to talk about the importance of having a mobile-friendly site and kind of define what a mobile-friendly website is and talk a little bit about response web design and the benefits of having a mobile-friendly site. A mobile-friendly site just means that you’re website actually displays beautifully across all device types. In the past historically, people would just have one website and it wasn’t mobile friendly.
|Then people got into, “Okay. We’re going to have 2 versions of our website. One will be the full version, it has all the content and the one will kind of redirect to like m.example.com and just display a very shrunken down version of your website that probably only has like 1/100’s of the information.” Might have been redirected to something like example.com/mobile or whatever that may be.
|A redirect is not the same as utilizing what’s called responsive web design. Responsive web design just says, “Hey, use the same exact website and all the same content that you put time and all your money and energy into and re-display that based upon the device in the screen size and the resolution that somebody’s looking at.” So this way if they’re looking at desktop, a laptop, a tablet, any type of mobile phone with a browser it’s going to display beautifully.
|One of the things that Google has been doing over the last 2 years is letting computer geeks like us know that effective April 21st, they’re going to be expanding basically mobile friendly, the mobile-friendliness of a site as a ranking signal. What this basically means is historically if you ranked #1 for a keyword on desktop, you also rank #1 for mobile. Well, what they’re saying is that no longer is going to happen.
|I’m going to read from this website, from Google and it says, “This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide. It will have a significant impact in our search results.” Google doesn’t really use the word significant impact very often. This is supposed to be bigger than all of Panda and Penguin changes combined. Basically in a nutshell, what’s going to happen is your search results for desktop are going to be different from your search results for mobile.
|You might have a good desktop site but all of a sudden, your mobile site isn’t responsive. So, it’s going to take a huge hit. You might be #1 for a specific keyword on desktop but mobile, you’re nowhere to be found on page 500. With that being said, it’s really important to understand that that’s going to impact at least 30% of your search traffic. At least 30% of search traffic right now today is coming by mobile.
|By the end of 2015, they’re estimating upwards of 50%. Another thing that you have to consider is even if somebody does find you, what is the user experience like for that person when they get to your site. Do they have to pinch and zoom? What does it look like? Is it tiny text or they’re just going to go, “Wow this loads really slow” and hit the back button and go to one of your competitors who have a mobile-friendly site.
|Let’s take a look at one example here. This is a website, it’s got some nice things about it. Although I would say they probably don’t have permission from the insurance companies down here to use those logos which is called trademark infringement. In any event, they have a phone number, a call to action, they have this form here, some nice things but how does this look like on mobile? We can actually come in here, there’s a URL posted in the blog post as well so you guys can see it.
|This is a test that, this is a testing tool that Google developed. You can see here Google.Com/webmaster/tools/mobile-friendly. Again, that link will be by the video in the post. I’m going to run this test and it’s going to let us know what Google thinks because the reality is we need to understand what Google thinks of the website. This is what it looks like on a desktop but this is what Google sees when it runs it through it’s mobile user agent.
|That’s really not a pretty site. It visually may appear different to somebody on a mobile site but the reality is this is how Google sees it. Big red X’s, text to small to read, links too close together, mobile view port not set. The good news is 33 mile radius produces amazing, fully responsive websites that display beautifully across all device types. We even have free websites that we will provide to our clients that allow you to quickly correct this issue so you don’t suffer this huge penalty.
|Again, I’ll us the words that Google used, “Significant penalty.” I encourage you on our website, email us at [email protected] with any additional questions. We do provide free website analysis so if you have any questions run your website through a bunch of different tools and jump on a call, we’ll walk you through the things that we’re seeing. If you have any other questions, by all means like I said, just reach out and that’s it.