If Google says it, it’s gospel.
This applies to more or less anyone who relies on the internet as a channel for promoting their services. And the ominipotent search engine recently announced its latest divine law that as of as of April 21, all websites must be mobile friendly or they will be downgraded in mobile search rankings.
Here’s a direct quote from the announcement on the official Google Webmaster Central Blog: “Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”
On the surface, this may seem like cause for concern, but it’s actually an opportunity. It’s a chance for you to improve your mobile search ranking, and perhaps the perfect motivation to freshen up your old website.
But how? From a technical standpoint, what are your options and what will cut the mobile-friendly mustard?
Ways to Go Mobile
For small business owners, there are two great options for going mobile:
1. Separate Mobile Website (m.domain.com)
Of the two, a separate mobile website is the slightly simpler (and faster) option. You can easily create a site based off of your desktop website and leverage its existing SEO strength. With the right platform, these two sites can even be synced so that changes made to the desktop will automatically show up on the mobile version. If you’re happy with your existing website, or simply not ready for a redesign, this is a fantastic option.
2. Responsive Website
If you are ready for a redesign, you may want to consider creating an entirely new responsive website. This approach is the future of web design for a variety of reasons.
For example, having one website that works on a desktop, tablet, and mobile can be slightly easier to manage. This approach provides you with one set of analytics to keep track of, one domain name to set up, and it accounts for tablet devices (which are their own animal entirely).
In Google’s eyes, these are both completely acceptable options; the key is to pick the one that works best for your situation.
Cutting the Mobile-Friendly Mustard
Simply selecting one of these two methods of site building is not enough to necessarily pass Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. You (or a web designer you hire) could create a completely responsive website, and still be dropped from mobile search. This goes for a separate mobile website as well. It all depends on what the end result looks like and whether or not you’re providing a good experience to visitors.
This means your site should adhere to some general design guidelines, such as links not being placed too close together and using appropriately sized text, despite which kind of website you choose. But there are also unique needs that come with both types of the above design approaches.
For example, a dedicated mobile website requires a mobile redirect to connect it with a desktop version. A mobile redirect is a small bit of code added to the desktop site which detects if a visitor is on a mobile device. If they are and the redirect is set up properly, the visitor should be redirected to the mobile-friendly site.
Perhaps the most crucial lesson to take away from Google’s latest SEO announcement is mobile experiences matter. After all, that is the common reason behind all of Google’s new requirements. Google wishes to provide users with the best mobile experience possible, and this is good news for you too.
In either method of site building, if you’ve created an optimal experience, users are much more likely to engage with your site, which helps to drive more customer conversion. With some estimates as high as 60 percent of online searches now coming from mobile, the necessity of being mobile-friendly can no longer be ignored.
On April 21, the mobile search world changed forever and this is one update you want to get out ahead of. It is far easier to ensure your website is ready for the change than to wait and have to claw your way back up the mobile search rankings. But with so much to account for, the task of preparing your website can seem a little daunting. Luckily, there are a variety of tools around the web that can help you with everything from easily creating a mobile-friendly website to analyzing your site’s SEO strength to ensure a smooth transition.
Written By Itai Sadan | Source: AllBusiness.com