You might have heard a lot recently about changes to Google which affect how they rank sites which are not mobile-friendly. Many people are calling these recent updates ‘mobilegeddon’ and claiming that anyone without a mobile site is about to lose any traffic they may be receiving from Google search – sounds pretty scary right? Actually, there is a lot of scaremongering happening, and the affect to most people is probably much smaller than you might think.
Here are 10 points to help you understand the recent Google changes.
What is responsive web design?
Responsive web design is fast becoming the new standard of web design, due to the wide, and constantly changing, range of devices that many users now browse the web with. Today the web can be accessed from a wide range of different sized phones, tablets, laptops and large screened desktops, and new resolutions and screen sizes are being added constantly (just look at the impending onslaught of ‘wearable tech’ like smart watches).
Responsive websites resize and reshuffle to fit whatever sized window or screen they are being viewed on – meaning zooming and scrolling side-to-side is not needed when viewing in smaller screens or windows.
Responsive web design is a total solution, and future-proof due to its flexible and fluid nature.
What is a mobile website?
A mobile website is a stripped-back version of a website, which shows automatically when the website is accessed from a mobile.
Which does Google prefer – responsive or mobile?
Google doesn’t mind if your website is responsive or simply has an associated mobile website, as long as it meets a few mobile-friendly factors such as having a suitable font size (for good readability on a small screen) and appropriate space between buttons (so you don’t accidentally tap the wrong one).
How does Google know which device I’m searching from?
There are clever little snippets of code in a website that lets them know a little bit of information about how the website is being viewed, including what device and browser you are using. This helps the website know how to appear
How much impact do the Google changes have on my website traffic?
A while ago Google started marking certain websites in their SERPs (search engine result pages) as ‘mobile friendly’ when the search was carried out on a mobile. On 21st April they took this process further, by showing mobile-friendly results higher than mobile-unfriendly in the search results on a mobile. This makes complete sense from Google’s point of view, as it streamlines the process for the user by prioritising suitable websites that render properly on the device they are using.
So it only affects searches from mobiles?
Searches from computers will not be affected by the updates on 21st April, whether you have a mobile friendly website or not.
How do I check my site is mobile friendly?
There are special Google-approved tools for checking whether your site will appear mobile friendly to their robots – get in touch with us if you’d like a quick audit of your website and its mobile-friendliness.
How do I check how much of my traffic comes from Google mobile searches?
If you have Google Analytics installed on your website then you can easily check how much of your traffic comes from mobiles, tablets and desktops. You can even drill down to find out which specific devices (e.g. iPhone 6, Samsung Galaxy S5) are being used.
Do I need a mobile site?
Obviously browsing from mobile devices is constantly growing, and when looking at the global average mobile browsing overtook desktop browsing last year, so a mobile-friendly solution is advisable. However, the rate of mobile browsing varies massively between different geographic areas and industries – for example a taxi company or restaurant in a city centre would probably have a much higher proportion of mobile visitors than a solicitor or in a rural area. Since the new updates only affect searches from mobiles, it is much more important to make sure your site is mobile-friendly if this is a significant contributor to your traffic. If you only get a handful of visitors from mobiles per month then you probably won’t notice much of an impact.
What do I do next…?
Talk to Creating Media, we are here to help and give real world, sensible advice that gives businesses options and solutions to increase their website traffic.
Get in touch to find out what your next steps could be – is your current site mobile friendly? Should you consider adding a mobile website, or completely redeveloping your current website to be fully responsive across a range of devices? The team at Creating Media can help you find out. Call us now on 01291 423 234 or email email@example.com