It’s coming. Mobilegeddon, that is. Will you be ready?
What is Mobilegeddon?
For some time now, mobile usefulness has been a consideration in Google’s search algorithm. Websites that are appropriately optimized to be used on mobile devices tend to have a higher ranking than those that are not. Until recently, however, the ranking factor has been restricted and vague.
Apart from carrying a “mobile-friendly” tag linked to websites in mobile search results, it has been difficult to ascertain which factors Google takes into consideration when computing mobile rankings. As a result, many business owners have held off or evaded optimizing their websites for these devices.
This February, Google announced that, “On 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.”
Needless to say, that announcement caught the attention of website developers around the globe.
How to get your website mobile ready
In the U.S., 94 % of individuals with smartphones search for local information on their phones. Add to that the fact that over two-thirds of mobile searches are done at home or work. That is one of the reasons Google is stepping up its efforts to deliver the best possible mobile experience to the maximum number of users. Mobile devices, such as smartphones, tablets and smart watches, are overtaking the online experience. If a web design company, a Phoenix web design firm or a website designer want to survive in the business world they will need to stay ahead of the pack.
There are certain steps a website designer needs to take in order to make sure a website will support mobile. Prior to attempting to optimize specifically to a mobile experience, you need to be sure Google approves your mobile site. That means your site must load seamlessly when a mobile user accesses it.
Standard mobile layouts
Responsive designed websites are the most popular. A website designer most likely knows that this type of design automatically detects which kind of device is being used to access it and then adjusts the site’s layout accordingly. A responsive website is designed so all the components of each webpage will organize themselves based on the dimensions of the screen that is accessing it.
Advantages: Because this design is adaptable enough to adjust to any screen, each mobile device will have a tailor-made experience. In addition, the “responsive” component only has to be constructed once; has one URL and one design, making it convenient and efficient for a web design agency.
Disadvantage: Because mobile users will be loading the entire site, downloading may take longer.
This layout is similar to that of responsive design in that you only need one URL. The difference is you’ll actually be “serving up” various versions of your site. Desktop and mobile versions will be loaded and you’ll serve the one that matches the device attempting to access it.
Advantage: Each device is served more specifically.
Disadvantages: It is more time consuming to develop, implement and manage since a separate version must be created for nearly every type of device that could access your page.
Mobile URLs are just that—a separate, customized URL for your webpage’s mobile version. When someone accesses your website from a mobile device they’ll automatically be redirected to the proper URL.
Advantage: Still a good choice for some businesses.
Disadvantages: They are becoming obsolete; take longer to create; require more upkeep; and misfire with the redirect.
Preparing for Mobilegeddon
If you already have a mobile-friendly site you can breathe a sigh of relief. If it isn’t, now’s the time to make the change by:
- Confirming your website’s mobile version is active and functional. Responsive designs are the first choice but you can also have a separate hosted mobile version of your site. Google doesn’t have a preference, as long as mobile users’ experience isn’t interrupted
- Confirming Google’s mobile bots can crawl your site
- Performing a test run for each page on a mobile device to be sure it’s easy to navigate. Just because the home page is mobile friendly doesn’t mean the rest of your site is
If you’re not sure whether your page meets the mobile-friendly criteria you can:
- Take the Mobile-Friendly Test
- Review the Webmasters Mobile Guide on how to create and improve your mobile site
- See the Mobile usability report in Google Webmaster Tools that highlights major mobile usability issues across your entire site, not just one page
Remember, Google doesn’t care how you optimize your website for mobile as long as it’s optimized. No matter which mobile layout you choose, Google will consider your site optimized and rank it accordingly. If you need help moving to a mobile-friendly layout contact us today for a complimentary 30 minute consultation. We’re happy to help you make the transition!