While the importance of having a responsive or “mobile-friendly” website has been known for quite some time, there’s another big updated coming for the Google Algorithm that may catch many web developers and SEO professional by surprise. The announced update primarily has to do with how Google crawls your website and decides whether or not to index your mobile website. Until now, websites optimized for mobile devices have by default seen somewhat higher rankings. The impact has been big enough for many companies to take notice. We recently updated our blog to be responsive. Currently DigitalHipsterInc.com is “mobile-friendly,” and we’re working on a new fully-responsive web design to replace it very soon. We’ve just been busy with converting many of our clients to responsive websites.
Google’s Webmaster Trends team announced that the new mobile-friendly algorithm change will have more of an impact on search rankings than either Panda or Penguin which were the two biggest impacts to date. See the article in Entrepreneur Magazine .
What Does The Google “Mobile-Friendly” Update Mean for Your Business?
For starters, according to Comscore “60% of all Internet searches are now done on a mobile device.” The general consensus in the SEO world is that the impact of the new mobile-friendly algorithm update will dramatically favor those with either a separate mobile website or responsive website because duh it’s just a better experience for the user. When you do a search in Google and a website is “mobile-friendly,” you will see “Mobile-friendly” below the website regardless of whether the site is responsive or or an m.website (separate mobile site). See our example on the left. Aside from potentially ranking higher in searches, the customers who do come to your website on their smartphone or tablet will be more likely to stay if they don’t have to zoom in and out to read the information on your site.
The decision that you as a business owner must make to take advantage of the coming Google algorithm update is whether to build a new responsive website now or to add a separate mobile website.
This decision largely depends on the complexity and cost of adding a separate mobile site vs. building a new website. If your website is only a few pages and it’s not an e-commerce website, than it usually makes more sense to add a mobile website. However, if your website is chock full of custom functionality like membership logins, shopping cart functionality, or still looks like its from 1999, then it’s probably better off starting fresh with a new responsive website.
If you currently have a separate mobile website and you are currently using it to take advantage of separate mobile-only pages that are not on your desktop website (for SEO or mobile-only promotions) you will now need to consider whether or not you want to add mobile url information to your website’s Sitemap. Google provides more information on that here.
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