Whether to make a delicious dish or to write a snippet of code, the first thing that flashes in your mind is Google. And ‘How to’ is that small magical phrase which leads you to the right answers. In this digital era, life is simply a switch from one electronic device to another – from a laptop at work, to a mobile while running errands, to a tab during commutes. But, does the user have a consistent experience with all these devices? Google has decided to answer this question.
Google has recently implemented a change that would accentuate the browsing experience of mobile users – a new algorithm which will bring up better, relevant and high quality results. This new algorithm, launched on April 21st, 2015 would make huge impact on websites ranking on the mobile searches in all languages all through the world. The impact, as experts say, would be more than the earlier Panda and Penguin updates.
Around 50% of all searches made on Google are through mobile phones and not acting upon this new algorithm would drastically affect your company’s site and search traffic. Therefore, it all simmers down to one requirement: Is your website and blog optimized for mobile? To reduce the impact of this hurricane, Google has put it in its efforts to guide website owners and marketers for a smooth mobile-friendly transition.
The Good Samaritan, Google has provided a checker to test if a website is mobile-optimized. All you need to do to run this mobile-friendly assessment tool is to paste your website URL in the space allocated.
A mobile-friendly site would leave a message ‘Awesome! This page is mobile-friendly’ along with the image of how Googlebot sees your website on mobile phones. In case, your website is not ready for this transition, you’ll see a ‘Not mobile-friendly’ message, along with reasons why is not. And, now if you’re stuck at this position, your ranking on mobile searches is likely to see a hit.
Options for Mobile Optimization
To beat this apocalypse and gain ground, adapting to a mobile-friendly configuration should be the first thing on your To-do list. You can opt for any one of the 3 configurations prescribed by Google.
1) Responsive Design
Responsive design is the most efficient and recommended design pattern. One URL is good to go for any device on which the website is accessed, thereby creating no more than one copy for any site. The website automatically adjusts itself to the device on which it is opened.
2) Dynamic Serving
In Dynamic Serving too the URL remains the same, but the HTML changes. User-agents are used to determine the type of device used to access the website and it dynamically adapts to device. Though this configuration is error-prone, Google gives it a green-signal at the mobile-optimization test.
3) Mobile Website
Mobile Website is a configuration that is least recommended, as it creates redundant websites. Though, it lives up to Google’s requirements, it needs extra efforts from both Google, to crawl as well as the company, to maintain it. When a user visits the website, it identifies the user’s device and redirects to the right version. With more than one link available, it may also result in chaos when a irrelevant link is accessed from a device.
The Optimal Optimization Approach
The optimal mobile-optimization approach which brings everyone to a win-win situation is a Responsive Design.
Users like it for the fact that they need not worry about site addresses and content. All they need to do sit back and click.
It reduces the efforts of Googlebot while crawling for your site. In case of ‘Mobile Website’ configuration, it needs to crawl multiple sites before arriving at the right one. Hence, Responsive Design increases efficiency and helps Google index more content.
Responsive Website is one single website for multiple devices. Hence, requires less maintenance and other features like redirecting users etc. also is not needed, thereby increasing the load speed of the websites.
Well, this may sound like it needs little more work than what it may seem, but in the view of the benefits (or to avoid the penalization), mobile-optimization can add value to any business’s online presence. Updating the website to latest versions will improve the site, enhance visitor experience, bring in new leads, land more conversions, and adds revenue to the business.