Why You Need A Responsive Mobile-Friendly Design

Mar 11, 2015 | SEO, Web Design, Websites

We Know The Web

Here at Oak City Technology, located in the heart of Durham, NC and RTP, we understand that web practices and rules change all the time. But why? This is because we live in a fast paced and ever changing online environment that grows an evolves over time, just like everything else in this world. Web development standards are one such example of this dynamic shift we currently find oursevlves in. Just a few years ago, almost no thought was given to mobile devices and how web pages showed on them. Today that is not the case as over 60 percent of web traffic comes from mobile devices. To address this dramatic shift, Google has now told us that ALL WEBSITES need to be mobile friendly first or you risk losing ranking positions. Responsive design construction of a website is without a doubt the most effective way to create a mobile friendly website. Let’s find out why.

Last Update: June 15th, 2017
Originally Published: March 11th, 2015

Google Announces Major Mobile Site Ranking Update. This Is Huge.

We’ve been champions of responsive design since day one. Websites with responsive web design have a special relationship between a mobile and desktop browsing experience because they are one in the same. Now more than ever you need to consider mobile responsive design if you value traffic from Google.

What’s Changing? You Need To Be Mobile-Friendly.

On Feb 26, 2015 Google shocked us all by announcing their plans to change the mobile search algorithm stating, “it will significantly impact search results.” With more than 50% of all web devices being mobile like smartphones and tablets Google is now placing higher relevance on websites that are mobile friendly. You NEED a mobile ready responsive design to continue to rank highly on Google searches.

A Mobile Website Vs. Responsive Web Design?

A mobile site is essentially a copy of your website, where the server does the work to deliver an optimized page that’s smaller and easier to navigate. Since a mobile website is essentially a copy of your main website, there is now twice the amount of work if you need your website changed. In responsive design, your website automatically adjusts according to the device’s screen size (large or small) and orientation (landscape or portrait). It switches between these options on-the-fly.

What About SEO And Link Juice”?

Having a mobile website on a separate subdomain can dilute backlinks and hurt organic search traffic. When a mobile site that uses a separate domain is shared, links will not count as search link equity toward your primary site. (protip: m.website.com is very different from just website.com to search engines.) On the other hand, responsive design lets you keep a single opertaing domain with no changes except code on the back-end. Maintaining a single shared site preserves a canonical URL, avoiding any complicated redirects, and simplifies the sharing of web addresses. Since responsive design simply embeds new code on the back-end of your website, your website’s link equity is 100% preserved.

What Should You Do?

You need to take action immediately and assess if this update could potentially hurt your rankings. Google has kindly provided us a tool that will analyze a URL and report the mobile-friendliness of the site. If you need help navigating through this update and becoming mobile-friendly please contact us for a free assessment.

Mobile First Indexing And Responsive Design

Currently, as far as we know, Google uses one singular algorithm to scan and index all websites regardless if they are desktop or mobile. This means that all websites are scanned as desktop website and looks for signals in the scan that tells Google…Hey! Our website is mobile friendly too! It then takes these signals and populates DIFFERENT search results to you based on what kind of device you are using to make that search. What is about to change is the indexing of mobile and desktop website will be split with mobile indexing taking precedence with more up to date information than the desktop index. We’re heading towards a mobile device dominated world. Learn more about mobile first indexing here!

Over the past few years we have seen this cause quite a few problems with mobile search as many websites can provide very sub par user experiences to Google for mobile devices. This is the driving force behind all of the changes Google has imposed over the last few years, improving the mobile experience for websites. Google sees the writing on the wall – search and web traffic have grown exponentially on mobile devices compared to desktop – yet we are still stuck in a desktop world for websites. Google has made it their mission to push the entire internet in the mobile direction and I wholeheartedly support this trend. The Mobile First Indexing announcement is the next phase of this. Google will now start scanning websites for their MOBILE CAPABILITIES and what kind of experience you provide to the user on mobile devices before all other desktop factors. This means that even if you are on a desktop and searching for something on Google, it weighs mobile search factors HIGHER than desktop, providing you with only mobile optimized websites as search results.

Part of what goes into Google’s mobile first indexing is how a website looks and is able to be used on mobile devices. Google cares about the user experience when someone comes to your website and Responsive Design is a great way to never have to worry abut that! Responsive Web Design allows your website to function beautifully on any size screen, from a projector to a tiny iPhone 4, your website will always be easy to use and operate.

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