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Last spring Google made a major change to search engine results page (SERP) algorithm on mobile devices. Websites that are more mobile friendly are ranked higher in search results. If your website is not mobile friendly then this algorithm could change how your web traffic is impacted. There are a number of ways of achieving this, but the most popular and widely accepted is responsive web design.

Why is Google Forcing the Issue by Insisting on Mobile Friendly Websites?

Google reports that beginning in the Spring of 2015, it found that there were more search queries being performed on mobile devices than on desktop computers. This trend has been much anticipated since before 2012, so the writing has been on the wall. But in Google’s webmaster blog, they actually came out and told everybody that they were focusing on end-user experience (nothing new) and that with the mobile user in mind, they were going to start ranking mobile-friendly sights higher in the search results than those if found were not mobile-friendly.

A number of tests by various well-respected internet SEO firms have confirmed that when Google rolled out it’s “mobilegeddon” update in the Spring of 2015, that there was indeed a ripple effect that skewed much more favorably to sites that were mobile-friendly. Google’s definition, by the way, of “mobile” means smartphones. Tablets are in another class, much akin to desktop. But stop and think about it… everyone is on their smartphone. You need to provide a friendly, positive, fast user experience on a smartphone internet connection and screen if you’re going to have any chance of competing in the marketplace that is no long off in the future, but in the here and now. The bottom line is: Be mobile friendly or be left behind, and Google is driving the bus.

Google’s Mobile Update and What It Means for You

If you don’t have a mobile friendly website then it is easy to say that your business is being buried on mobile search results. Even if your site is found, they may not say because your website is not responsive. According to Google over 50% of people will use a business less often if their website isn’t mobile friendly.

You are probably asking yourself what I can do to protect my business? First, check your site with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test by clicking here. If your website fails the test then it’s time for an update!

Choose Responsive Web Design:

There are not many options for making your website function well on mobile devices. But the good news is that responsive web design is the most popular methodology and it is also the most widely accepted.  Google, in fact, loves it. Any option is better than not having any mobile website design but some options are better than others.

  • A Separate Mobile Website: On mobile devices your website would redirect to a different URL that uses different HTML to look good on mobile devices. This method often can lead to coding errors and can be expensive to maintain if the setup is not properly done.
  • Dynamic Serving: This type of method uses separate sets of HTML and CSS coding on one url. This method lacks the search index issues of a separate URL mobile website but layout can be complex and maintenance can turn out to be expensive.
  • Responsive Web Design: The same code on the same URL adjust to the user’s device to display correctly on any screen size. This particular method is easier to implement and maintain, and it’s not prone to errors like some of the other options mentioned, and so you save money all while having a site that always looks great. Responsive website design is Google’s recommended design pattern.

If you are looking to update your website so that you’re sure it’s mobile ready, or perhaps it’s been a few years and it’s looking pretty tired and shopworn, give us a call and set up a free appointment to come in and discuss your current internet marketing needs. Our team of experienced web designers and search engine optimization specialists have deep experience and can help you get your website up to date quickly and affordably.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Paul Albee is the digital marketing director of ATS Design Group in Syracuse, New York. Paul and his team specialize in all aspects of online digital marketing including website design, SEO search engine optimization, social media marketing as well as print and advertising design. Paul grew up in Cedar Rapids, attended Washington High School and is Mike Albee’s brother, serving clients across upstate New York, Eastern Iowa and nationwide.