Another algorithm update is coming, this time targeting mobile-friendly websites. Starting on the 21st of April, Google will officially start recognizing mobile friendliness as a ranking signal. This means that in order to compete on mobile searches your website will need to be mobile-friendly.
Is your website mobile friendly? Give this official tool a try.
Mobile Search Is Important
In a previous post I talked about our own mobile traffic. Here’s a table from that post.
Percentage of Traffic of Mobile and Tablet Devices:
As you can see, year by year the percentage of mobile searches increases.
Building a mobile-friendly website comes down to two options. The first is a responsive web design, the other is a separate stand-alone mobile website.
Responsive Web Design
- One website applies to a wide range of devices.
- Can be done on a smaller budget.
- Highly flexible and typically easier to maintain.
- Harder to create a specific mobile experience.
Stand-Alone Mobile Website
- Because it’s a separate mobile website, it’s easier to create a site designed with mobile users in mind.
- Can require constant maintenance.
- Harder to design to a range of screen sizes (i.e. different mobile devices)
It’s worth mentioning that Google isn’t factoring in one specific design over another. You will not be rewarded for a responsive design any more than you’ll be penalized for a stand-alone mobile website. Rather, the change on the 21st April is looking at how mobile-friendly your website is, not the design it has.
So Which One is Best For Me?
It depends on your intentions. A responsive web design is a great catchall. In fact, it’s Google’s recommended web design.
However, a stand-alone website does have some pluses. They are great when building a website only for mobile users or if you are building an app; desktop’s need not apply.
So the one that’s best for you is the one that suits your needs. If you want to build something that only mobile users will find useful, then you might be falling in the stand-alone category. On the other hand, if you’d like to make sure your current website is navigable, readable, and interactive to mobile users then responsive might be right up your alley.
If you are still unsure, feel free to contact us and we’ll walk you through the different options.
What Happens After The Update on 21st April 2015?
This change to Google’s algorithm will apply to mobile search only, so your mobile search rankings will likely be affected by this update.
However, here’s one possibility: as more and more of your competitors jump on the mobile bandwagon, Google will start to rank those web pages as more relevant; they’ll begin to take those top spots. As more people move onto mobile devices as their main source of searching, see table above, you could see a decrease in your overall traffic.
The world is going mobile and the longer you wait you’ll find yourself starting to sink, if you don’t act soon.