Within the past week, Google implemented an important change to its algorithm. The search giant will now boost the rankings of mobile-friendly pages on mobile search results. According to Google, this change will allow its mobile users to more easily find high-quality and relevant results where text is readable without tapping or zooming, tap targets are spaced appropriately, and where unplayable content or horizontal scrolling is avoided.
If your website isn't mobile-friendly, your rankings will suffer on mobile devices. And while you may only see a marginal portion of your traffic coming from mobile today, those metrics are changing rapidly. Mobile usage is outpacing desktop in a big way, and it's only going to grow. It is important that you consider the mobile user, especially if your website is designed to attract, engage, convert or retain customers.
In the old days, many companies hosted two websites—one for desktop and another for mobile devices. Today, "responsive design" is the way forward. Websites that are responsive automatically adapt to any screen size and, therefore, any device. At Station Four, we take a "mobile first" approach, where appropriate. In a nutshell, that means we design for an exceptional mobile experience first and then back into the same for desktop users.
When designing for a mostly desktop-based audience, we ensure that our websites are truly mobile-friendly, too. That means larger assets that load quickly on the desktop are programmatically modified, removed or replaced as the website adapts to different screen sizes. This approach makes for a much better mobile experience, without sacrificing content or functionality.
To determine just how important this change is to you, consider conducting an audit on both your website and, if possible, the data behind your website. Most of our clients have implemented Google Analytics or other website usage monitoring tools. Google also provides a few different ways to test your web pages for mobile-friendliness.
Or, we can help... a few different ways.
This is a one of the most important updates Google has pushed in recent years. In fact, it’s a game-changer for companies that are putting digital and mobile first. Is yours?
Ryan Hickey is a rapid-fire, coffee-drinking devotee of hard data. As the Director of Digital Strategy, he guides S4’s strategic approach to both internal and client work with a near-obsessive commitment to critical thinking and substantiation through methodical tracking and analysis. Ryan studied diplomacy at Georgetown and has been known to turn a poisoned pen to album reviews in his spare time.