Google have launched their new search engine algorithm on 21/04/2015. It gives an important place to the mobile-friendly factor in their search results. In other words, if your website is not mobile-friendly it will be penalised and lose rankings and therefore lose traffic.
Google quite rightly acknowledge that mobile search is growing exponentially and is here to stay. The number of mobile users has overtaken PC users early 2014. Google want to factor into their search results a consistent user experience whatever the viewing platform, hand held device or desktop monitor; that is a consistent navigation structure and environment. A website that is not mobile friendly is not going to create that experience.
What does mobile friendly website mean?
It does not just mean that your website can be seen on a mobile device screen but that it has been designed to be viewed on a small screen, with the font in a readable size, the touch screen buttons being finger size, pertinent and relevant information being displayed at the top of the page, etc.
What are your choices?
There are three main configurations for a mobile friendly website.
A responsive website is one in which the layout adapts itself to the size of the viewing environment. It will provide an optimal viewing experience across a wide range of devices, from mobile phones to tablets to desktop monitors, whatever the dimensions of the device is.
Regarding the search engines, they have to crawl a single URL (your website address) and a single HTML code (the code to display your page).
For you, it means only one place to carry out your updates and to implement your digital marketing.
For your visitors, they remain in the same environment that feels familiar and are therefore more likely to stay on longer and become returning visitors.
Dynamic serving will figure out what kind of device the visitor is using and deliver a different page with a different structure whether on a monitor or a mobile phone; this results in two pages being built. The URL remains the same, a positive for search engines. This approach will offer an optimised result but it is known to be a lot more error prone.
The search engines will have to crawl two sets of HTML pages for the same content.
You will have two lots of pages to maintain and so does your digital marketing team.
Separate Mobile Website
When mobile websites started being optimised, this was the way to go: a separate mobile website was built on a different URL and with a different code.
The search engines have to crawl two different websites and two version of your website content.
What is your preferred solution?
Your preferred solution for a mobile friendly website should be the responsive one.
- It is Google preferred solution because it optimises its crawling and makes indexing simpler by going to one place only. They would like to establish responsive websites as the industry standard.
- It is easier to maintain one website; you know that once the page has been updated it will look good on all devices. Your digital marketing team will be grateful having to work with one set of pages.
- Your visitors will find it easier to visit one URL and find consistency of navigation, content presentation and environment. Your website will be familiar whatever the viewing support is.
- Responsive website design is future proof: the website will adapt to whatever the viewing screen dimensions present and future.
Web Consulting Team specialise in responsive website, a choice we made a few years ago.