Usually when Google announces an update it comes with little, if any, warning at all. However, Google recently announced, "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." Whilst Google have been telling Webmaster’s for years to prepare for Mobile, this is the most significant mobile-related announcement they have released to date, and it’s clear that this time, Google mean business.
It’s Time For Action…
If you don’t already have a Mobile-Friendly website then you need to get the ball-rolling, and quickly. You have probably heard the terms “Responsive Site” and “Mobile Site” repeatedly across the web, so we are going to start by briefly defining what each of these mean.
Responsive Site – A Responsive Site takes a standard website and instructs it to fit the display size that it is being viewed on. This allows your website to fit precisely on any device in any resolution. An example of a Responsive Site is the Porsche website http://www.porsche.com/uk/. You can see the change in website size if you slowly drag the bottom right hand corner of your browser inward to make it smaller.
Mobile Site – This is a completely separate site that has been designed and built purely for mobile users. It may sit on a sub domain such as m.domain.com. An example of a Mobile-Specific Site is the BBC Sports website http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/. You can see the difference by bringing up the website on a mobile and desktop device and comparing the two.
Responsive vs. Mobile Sites – What Is Better? Mobile Sites:
- Better mobile experience for users (may lead to higher conversions)
- Cheaper upfront costs
- Recurring maintenance
- High costs for updating multiple websites
- May need to be upgraded in future to work on new browsers
- Issues with optimal display on different resolutions
- One website works on multiple devices
- Only needs to be updated once as only one site
- Recommended by Google
- Better ROI in the long term as it won’t need much maintenance to work on future browsers
- More expensive upfront
A Quick Note On Search Engine Optimisation…
If Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) forms a core part of your business then this must also be taken into consideration at this point. When it comes to link building and spending time optimising a site, you need to consider the fact that updating multiple sites will be far more costly and time consuming, than updating and building links to just the one Responsive Site.
In Summary The bottom line is you need to think about why you are creating the site and what functionality you need it to have. Either way, a mobile website is a MUST if you want to stay within Google’s guidelines and within the same playing field as your competitors. If you need to discuss your website in more detail please give us a call on 01392 667766, where one of the team will be more than happy to help!