Unless you’ve been living under a rock, today (April 21st), marks a game changing day in ‘SEO Land.’ As you’ve probably heard, Google has released major changes to its mobile search algorithms, which has the potential to disrupt a lot of companies who lack mobile-friendly search engines. Although Google made the announcement back in February to give webmasters plenty of time to make necessary changes, it’s likely to impact a lot of smaller businesses, who either don’t know about the changes, or simply don’t have the bandwidth and resources to deal with it right now. All the Search Engine Optimization in the world won’t help a company’s ranking on Google if the consumer is searching from a mobile phone (tablets are NOT included). Given that a whopping 60% of online traffic comes from mobile devices, this change aptly deserves the “apocalyptic” status it has been given.
By conducting a little primary research, I found that big retail stores like Macy’s, JCPenney, Staples and Pizza Hut all had Mobile Friendly sites; (in fact it looked like Macy’s was very new, perhaps just coming in under the wire?) However, searching for some local salons and coffee shops in the town where I live produced nothing but “regular” Web sites being forced to reside on a small iPhone 6 screen. That’s bad news for them.
There are really two main methods to creating a mobile site. One way is to design a completely separate mobile site that requires its own maintenance. The other is by using “responsive design,” which essentially takes a standard website and instructs the mobile device on how to display it properly. Responsive websites can handle any resolution with changes in CSS files, which affect how the elements on Web pages are presented. Computers, laptops, smartphones, and tablets will all display the website in the best way possible. While "Mobile-only" designs are relatively simple to build and generally economical in development cost, responsive websites are more complicated to build; having a higher upfront cost. One important consideration is the "lifetime" cost. Responsive Web design is Google’s recommended configuration.
Are you a small business wondering how you can comply with Google’s new rules? Not sure what “responsive design” is all about? Google was even kind enough to provide a list of recommended vendors that can help you optimize your business’s website for seamless functionality across all devices. These vendors include GoDaddy, duda, Mobify, weebly (my personal favorite!) and wix.com, to name a few. You can check out the complete list here: https://www.google.com/think/multiscreen/vendors.html
Maybe you are thinking your site is mobile-friendly, but perhaps there’s a lingering doubt - use the free test on this site to see how Google would rate your website (You'll want to see the words "Awesome!" show up in your results).
Google says a site is "mobile-friendly" if it meets the following criteria (as detected by Googlebot):
It is with great relief that I can confirm that Mindteck Academy’s Web site is, indeed, mobile-friendly! Go ahead – try it! With the use of weebly, our site is managed in one location and all maintenance/changes/updates are automatically made to both the website and the mobile site. Images and all content are automatically resized and repositioned for mobile optimization. It’s so easy!
Don’t wait folks…it won’t be long before PCs and laptops become synonymous with tube TVs and boom boxes. And maybe this new algorithm only applies to phones right now, but something tells me this is just phase one and tablets and other types of mobile devices (watches anyone?) are next in line!