These days it's almost unusual to come across someone that doesn't have a smartphone. According to Pew Research, 64 percent of Americans owned a smartphone as of October 2014, and you can only imagine that this will continue to climb. This same survey also indicated that 42 percent of Americans own a tablet.
These mobile devices, whether a smartphone or a tablet, now play an integral role in the way that people browse the internet. Understanding this, Google is about to change its search algorithm yet again to give preference to mobile friendly website designs in search engine results.
Google announced that this new change to its algorithm will become effective on Tuesday, April 21st. Since this has the potential to considerably impact how Google will rank your website in search going forward, we wanted to share what you can do today to prepare for this change and even improve your website's ranking in SERPs.
What can you do to improve the mobile friendliness of your website?
Hearing the news that Google is updating its search engine algorithm, yet again, to give preference to mobile friendly websites probably has you thinking about what options are available to meet this requirement. You've probably heard a lot about responsive website design, but let's take a moment to touch on this and how it relates to Google's change.
All too often, responsive website design and a mobile website are confused for being one in the same. This is not the case at all. The major difference is that a mobile website is simply a copy of your website; a responsive website design is your website. This is made possible by coding the website to react and reorganize content, font sizes, and images in such a way that makes for a great viewing experience on any screen size, mobile or otherwise.
With the new changes to Google's search algorithm, going with a mobile website instead of a responsive website may present challenges as you are required to create a different domain name. With the new changes, this has the potential to hurt organic search traffic. On the other hand, responsive design allows you to keep your same domain name, which helps to avoid any complicated redirects and can be easier for search engines to interpret.
Not sure if your website is mobile friendly? Have Google test it...
If you are questioning the mobile friendliness of your current website, I highly recommend that you take advantage of Google's Mobile Friendly Test to see if your website meets the mobile friendly criteria that Google wants to see. Internally, we utilize this tool to ensure every responsive website design we build is mobile friendly and compatible with Google.
Naturally, there will be a lot of questions surrounding Google's recent algorithm update. Please feel free to contact us to talk through these changes and what you need to be doing today to be sure that you are continuing to drive qualified traffic to your website design.