Google wants mobile users to have easy access to websites that have been mobile optimized. We don’t blame them: mobile search has increased dramatically in recent years, so it is important to prioritize sites that are mobile friendly. According to Google, the changes 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." (Source) Luckily, Google has given site owners a warning about this change, so you still have time to prepare. In this blog post, we will discuss Google's mobile updates, and what to expect if you are a website owner.
What You Should Expect As A Website Owner
Google made an effort to make the announcement early, unlike their previous updates, so it’s clear that they want to give sites the opportunity to prepare. Keep this in mind: the goal of the search engine is to provide users with the information they seek. If your site has valuable information that performs well because customers find you helpful, they want you to continue to rank well.
That means, that ignoring mobile screens is just not an option from a modern marketing standpoint. When it comes to catering to normal desktop computers and mobile devices, you need to be proactive. If you aren't, you are really just hurting yourself by limiting your website and it's usability.
According to Smart Insights, in the United States, 25% of Internet users only access the Internet on mobile devices. That means, having a website that only caters to users on laptop or desktop computers is a big mistake. Because people are turning to mobile devices to search the web, it's important that your website still navigates with ease, and can adapt to whatever device users are well, using. Responsive websites can do just that. Having a responsive design for your website can ensure that your website is coded to adapt to all screen sizes, no matter what devices the website is being displayed on.
So, long story short, if you want to maintain your strong SEO presence, it is time to adapt to mobile responsive design.
How Do I Know If My Site Is Mobile Friendly/Responsive?
So far, Google is offering two tools, which allow you or your employees to test your website to get an idea of how well it performs on mobile devices. You can find the first tool, a Mobile Usability Report, in your Google Webmaster Tools. The second tool is a Mobile Friendly Test that you can use to see if a specific page URL is mobile optimized. To gain a more in depth understanding of how mobile-friendly your site is, use these tools to assess where your challenges are.
Is There Anything Else I Should Know About?
The speed of your site makes a big difference for mobile users. Typically, when mobile devices are connecting to a website, they are using a slower connection than cable or wifi. The lesson is simple: you should make sure that your site load time is optimized to make it as fast as possible. If you are not sure how fast your site is, you’re in luck. You can test individual website page load speed with this great resource from Google.
ImageWorks, LLC Web Design
As always, the ImageWorks team is here to help. If you are unsure whether or not your site is mobile, feel free to give us a call, or sign up for our Mobile Website Development Guide.
If you are interested in reading more about Google updates, check out our blog post, "How Does Hummingbird Affect My Website's SEO?"
Responsive design is the standard for websites these days, so you should select a compnay that has reputable experience, crafting and developing responsive websites. Initially, creating a custom responsive site will cost more, but it will immediately benefit your brand and your audience, helping to provide them with a seamless visual experience. Ask any potential agencies for examples of responsive sites they have built, and practice using them on your mobile device, so you can confirm the integrity of their work.