Hello friends! Today I want to discuss a little more about the recent change that startled the world of SEO and website owners around the globe alike. Of course, I am talking about the latest Google update aimed towards mobile optimization of web pages (or lack thereof). The update started rolling out on April 21st and was believed to continue throughout the whole week so we are just in the final stages where we can have a more objective outlook of its consequences. So lets see what we have learned so far and what conclusions we can draw from that.
A few facts about the #Mobilegeddon
– the update is aimed towards expanding the impact of mobile-friendly websites and the user experience when browsed from mobile phones. It is said that the mobile optimized websites will get a boost after the update. Keyword here is “expanding”. For those unaware, mobile-friendliness has been one of many ranking factors for a while, its significance will just increase.
– this is not a penalizing update per-se, it is believed to up the rankings for the better performing websites. This means that even if your website is not mobile-optimized it might still keep its ranks if other competitors around it keep their current status too.
– unlike many other updates and changes, this time Google was much more open about it and announced its release beforehand. Not just that but the first announcements date a couple of months back so this time webmasters had enough time to get acquainted and react accordingly. Google even provided a handy tool where users could check the current state of their website.
– the update rollout will take about a week so immediate conclusions should not be drawn. Keeping an eye on ranks would never hurt but general decisions must not be taken based on those.
– it will affect searches on mobile phones. Desktop and tablet searches would not be impacted. I’d like to open a little bracket here and add that desktop and tablet queries will not be affected DIRECTLY as Google still keeps an eye on metrics like click-through rate (CTR) which will definitely be affected on some websites.
How can I survive the Mobilegeddon?
It is actually pretty simple – the best way is for you to have prepared beforehand, when the first announcements were made. Whether you will make a mobile-friendly version of your website or simply make it fully responsive you can’t really go wrong. Even though Google made a step towards this change just now, any website owner should have taken those into consideration for the last few years. In the Western world more than 50-60% of users are already browsing from smartphones and this is a growing trend that one should not overlook. Mobilegeddon will not crush your web pages if you are not optimized, but you are basically shooting yourself in the foot and losing much valuable traffic and sales.
Mobile version or Responsive Design?
Just to be clear and easily understood, a mobile version of a site is a copy especially built for mobile phones. URLs look like m.yourdomain.com and encompasses included screen resolutions. Responsive design does not include separate site or URL, it is an optimization technique for a website to fit all screens. Simplest test for responsiveness is minifying and expanding your browser window and checking if your page adjusts with the changes.
Comparing both, the mobile rendition stands out with two main benefits – initial costs and customization. As you can imagine, building a completely separate version of a site gives you the freedom to rearrange elements and add/remove functionalities for the best experience on a smartphone. However that comes at the cost of higher costs and effort in the future, when updating the content on multiple websites. Moreover the optimization would probably not be able to include all various screen resolutions, especially as new ones are popping up every now and again.
On the other hand we have responsive design which initially would require more financial resources and manpower. This is compensated with full flexibility and a guarantee that your pages will fit all screens. This takes care of future maintenance too as any change you make will be immediately applied on all screen sizes. If that’s not enough Google also recommends this scenario in their optimal configuration guide.
Regardless of your choice my wish for you all is to take with all seriousness the needs of your mobile users and make sure they get the same perfect navigation you are trying to apply for their desktop equivalents. Your website is the face of your business so make sure its as beautiful as it can get.