If not, you’d better be prepared for diminished Google rankings.
I ran across this a few days back and thought I’d share. We’ve been pushing websites that are responsive in design for a while now. When we say “responsive”, what we mean is that they will adjust to the screen upon which they are viewed. A good responsive website design will happily display on a huge 23″ monitor running at 2000+ pixel widths and look good down to a small Android phone screen. The term “happily display” here means that it is readable without any need for pinch/zoom.
Mobile Friendly / Responsive Website
There are many websites out there now that use a fixed width format that looks awesome on a computer, but when you bring it up on a mobile device – it’s a little bit different. Tiny little graphics, font that is far too small to read and a whole LOT of side to side scrolling. All of this adds up to an experience for the end user that makes your site not a whole lot of fun.
Contrast that to a responsive site such as this one where all the text is easily viewed, images resize properly and navigation is usable without being a finger sniper. We’ve been building responsive only websites for the last year exclusively – and now those customers are going to definitely benefit from that decision we made whether they ever realize it or not.
Bad Redirects to a Mobile Website
While the display problem is not specifically pointed out in the Google Webmaster Blog posting (YET), it is mentioned in the Google “Building Mobile-optimized Websites” reference page. What is specifically mentioned are faulty/poor redirects (which are also taken care of with a responsive website design). In the example right from Google, all of these pages are being redirected to a root mobile page. What Google is expecting to see is a proper redirect – if I am a searcher and I get the “foo” page in the search results, then when visiting on a mobile device, I darned well better get a mobile “foo” page when I click on that link. If you don’t have a mobile “foo” page, then the desktop version is expected to be served. Many mobile websites will “404” it (throw an error) and then take the user to the mobile home page. No longer going to be acceptable.
The Mobile Website Experience
There are a lot of “mobile websites” out there that try to take a 10-50 page website and boil it down to about 5 pages that are deemed most important to a user. Think about restaurants for example. It’s common to have a mobile website that features the menus and driving directions and omit the rest of the site. The small corollary mobile website is cheaper to build than a whole new full-blown website, it’s easier to keep updated as there are far fewer pages for the most part and it provides a highly optimized interface. It is though yet one more thing to have to update and keep in sync. It’s a nice compromise, but at what expense in the long run?
Going forward, it means that you’d better have your redirects right and all the other i’s dotted and t’s crossed, or suffer from lower rankings. It also means that any page that you want to be appearing in Google search results should HAVE a mobile friendly version. In the case of MOST websites, I personally want to see all of them ranked – I put them there for a reason.
Losing a Third of Your Visitors
We keep stats on and maintain over 100 sites currently and being able to aggregate all the data from all those sites gives us a nice insight. A full third of visitors on MANY sites are actually visiting using a mobile device. So for many of our clients, a drop in their mobile rankings for a third of the current visitors is likely not something that they would like to see. And if you’re doing SEO work on those sites, that also is certainly not something you want to deal with.
OR, you could always remove all the worry and concern about your website as a whole and just go responsive. One site. One update. NO redirects. No issues.
Call us for more information on getting a responsive design in place for YOUR website.
Oh and if you already HAVE an OutsideRaleigh built website? You can just take it easy. We already did it for you.