Responsive website design and Google ranking
Google is arguably the most commonly used search engine platform on the internet. What this means is that it is important for your website to be found on Google in order to bring your business the traffic you’re after. Many factors contribute to how a website will rank on Google. This includes, but is not limited to, the amount of traffic the website gets, the amount of time spent on the site, the number of pages visited, site content being updated regularly, search engine optimisation (aka SEO), and whether it is a mobile responsive website.
Today we want to talk to you about mobile websites and how they impact Google ranking results.
What is mobile responsive website design?
The simplest way to describe a mobile responsive website is that it will respond, or adapt, to its environment. This environment could be an iPhone, Android smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer.
Specifically it means that the website has been designed and developed to work responsively and will look good and be easy to read and navigate no matter what device the site is viewed on.
Responsive website design is becoming increasingly important as more and more users are viewing web content on the go. Some research has found that up to two-thirds of internet users will stop viewing a web page if it is not mobile device friendly – preferring to find another website that displays correctly in turn making it easy to read and navigate.
Mobile responsive website design and ranking
Google has recently begun testing its mobile first ranking index. This will focus primarily on the mobile version of your website, rather than the desktop version previously utilised for ranking purposes. When there’s no mobile version available Google will fall back on the desktop content – however this will be assigned less influence in your ranking rating.
Most Google searches happen on mobile
So what has brought about the change in the way Google is utilising website data for ranking?
With the developments in smart phones and tablet use over the past few years it has become a lot easier to view websites on the go rather than heading home to look up content later in the day.
As a result there has been a dramatic shift where most web searches are now happening on mobile devices. Between 60-80% of all Google searches begin on a mobile device. Up until recently Google has based all their indexing on desktop websites, however now Google aims to reflect their results on the most commonly used data.
Ease of use
As you are likely aware it is a lot easier to read the content on a mobile device from a website that has been designed for a mobile device. It eliminates zooming in, scrolling sideways to read content or having to squint your eyes to read the small text. Additionally it is a lot easier to navigate through a mobile responsive website as the layout has been designed for use in this format.
Google wants to keep their users happy. To rank websites higher if they are more useful – and usefulness comes in the form of an easy to use and navigate website. So whether a user is searching for your business website on a mobile, tablet, laptop or desktop – the search results will be assigned first and foremost from the mobile version of the website.
What does this mean for my business website?
If you have a mobile responsive website there is no need for concern. There are no changes needed on your site. The website built for your business was designed future ready so there is nothing you need to do in relation to this.
If your business website is not responsive, there are options available. Google will continue to use the desktop version of your website to read the content and determine your ranking based on this. However, it will mean that you will not benefit from the mobile-friendly ranking boost and may see your website drop down slightly in Google ranking. Moving forward it is recommended to develop a mobile responsive website to keep your users engaged. There is still time to update your website and make it mobile friendly. Talk to us today about your options for making this a reality.
How do I know if I have a mobile responsive website?
If you are not sure whether or not you have a mobile responsive website, here is an easy test to help you tell. When using a desktop computer open your preferred web browser. Using the corner to resize your window see if the content adapts and changes to fit the screen size. Specifically does the test adjust to the size of the screen? Do the images and content shift to fit to the window screen size? If you can answer yes to these questions your website has been developed to be mobile friendly. As in the example below.
If however the content does not adjust as you resize the screen, and elements disappear off the side of the window – this is a strong sign you do not have a mobile responsive website.
Alternatively, you can use this Google website – just enter your url and it will run a test and let you know if the site is mobile friendly.
If you are still unsure, we are happy to analyse your website for you and let you know whether you have a mobile friendly website – contact us to arrange a web analysis today.