Google Is Now Favouring Responsive Websites. What do I need to do?
By Simon Brooks, 23 April 2015
On 21st April 2015, Google launched a new version of their search algorithms with the following statement that they are:
“…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”.
What does this mean?
The essence is that Google’s vision for the internet for every website on the planet to perform equally well on a mobile phone, tablet or desktop PC.
There’s a reason for this. The use of mobile internet is increasing massively, accounting for an average of 25% of web usage. In 2015, some website owners have seen mobile users account for as much as 50% of all traffic.
According to Google the new search update is the largest to date, even trumping the likes of the Panda and Penguin updates, which had a huge impact.
It seems that whether we like it or not, the world is going not just digital, but also mobile.
It’s not a question of whether websites need to be optimised for mobile.
It’s a certain necessity.
What should you do? Don’t panic!
Many web design agencies have jumped on the bandwagon and used this update as an excuse for scaremongering.
Putting the fear of Google into marketers, less experienced web designers or business owners just to leverage a website redesign is not the way we’ve chosen to go about it.
The reality is that you do still have a static website, then yes, you will need to upgrade it.
But the urgency with which you do so depends on the proportion of your website visitors that are actually mobile.
5 steps to responsive
1. Understand what the changes mean
The key to understanding the implications for your business is to know that these Google algorithm changes only affect searches conducted on a mobile device. There is no implication – other than best practice – for users searching on a desktop PC.
Another important factor to put into context is the sort of business you are. If you’re a high street retailer or café that wants to attract shoppers who may be searching while walking about, your requirement for a mobile friendly site is probably greater than that of a B2B company selling machine components.
2. Check if your website is already responsive
Some website owners and marketers are surprised when we tell them their website is already responsive. It’s because some content management system (CMS) based websites created in the last couple of years have been built using a responsive theme.
To check if your website is already responsive, go to Google’s own Mobile-Friendly Test, enter your website URL and Google will analyse it for mobile compatibility.
3. Check your Google Analytics
If your site is not responsive, you need decide how urgently you need to act. Check your Google Analytics to assess:
- The number of users coming to your website from mobile search on tablets and smartphones.
- The proportion of users coming to your website using.
Based on these numbers you can make a decision on the urgency of making your website mobile.
4. Understand what responsive design involves
A responsive version of your website will:
- Require a new version of your website design that automatically responds to the user based on the type of device being used
- Not require the use of software that is rarely used on mobile devices, such as Flash
- Use text that does not require a user to zoom
- Have a different style of menu optimised for mobile devices
- Fit the content specifically to the size of the mobile device’s screen
- Incorporate other design and usability features such as easily tappable phone numbers, email addresses, website links and menu items
5. Get your website mobile
Once you’ve understood the needs and the justification for your website to go mobile, you’ll need to look at your options:
- Choose to ignore the march of mobile (not advised)
- Set a deadline for your business website to go mobile
- Explore the feasibility of:
- Creating a responsive version of your current website
- Creating a completely new website that can more seamlessly respond to mobile devices
- Decide who you’re going to work with
In many cases, a responsive version of your existing site may cost you more to implement than a completely new website design, with a mobile responsive version. Much will depend on the structure and size of your site and the complexity of the functionality.
Whoever you choose to help with your responsive website project, it’s important to make sure you use expert web design professionals whose website is itself responsive, who have a full understanding of responsive design, and who can point to a track record of responsive website designs that they have delivered.
Here at C4B Media we can tick all the boxes. Our expert designers and developers have mastered their craft.
Plus, by taking advantage of our in-house knowledge of SEO and all things digital we can offer a tailored, professional service to maximise your online presence. Our team know the field, watch the updates and will deliver you quality.
For more on this talk to us on 01763 877110