We have long been advocates of a responsive design for business websites, and a recent announcement from Google has further reinforced the importance of ensuring your website is responsive and works across all devices.
What is responsive design?
Websites with a responsive design respond to the device that is being used, changing layout and in some cases the functionality to best fit the environment. The idea behind responsive design is that no matter where someone views your website – on a mobile, tablet or a large desktop – they will have a good user experience.
Why is responsive design important for Google rankings?
Although responsive design has been a good idea for optimum user experience for a while, it is now also important for search engine optimisation. This is because Google recently announced a change in the way that they will rank search results on mobile devices. This change means that sites that are mobile friendly will be prioritised over those that are not.
This could have a significant effect on traffic to your business website, especially as the number of people using different mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets to search is constantly increasing.
There’s a number of ways to ensure your website is mobile friendly, including creating a separate mobile site. However, we recommend a implementing a responsive site over a separate mobile site, and Google also recommends using a responsive design. The reasons for this include:
- Responsive sites ensure consistency. A responsive site makes it easier to ensure both sites are consistent and up to date. Having a separate site for mobile users means you need to manage and update the content on two websites.
- Responsive sites work on more devices. The number of devices used to access the internet is growing, and they come in all different shapes and sizes. While a mobile site is normally set up to work on certain screen sizes, a responsive site is the best way to ensure as many users as possible have a consistent experience.
- Responsive sites have a single URL. Users on a responsive website go to the same web address. This is less confusing for visitors and they will always be in the right place.
- Responsive sites are better for search engine optimisation. In addition to these new changes, responsive sites already have a number of SEO benefits as opposed to separate mobile sites. Responsive sites are easier to index so Google are likely to index more of your site.
What happens next
From 21st April 2015 Google will start prioritising mobile friendly sites in their search results. From this point, if your site isn’t mobile friendly it is less likely to get shown. Google constantly makes changes to their algorithm, so is possible that at some stage non-mobile friendly sites won’t get shown at all. To check if your website is deemed mobile friendly by Google, you can use their online tool.
If your website isn’t mobile friendly, don’t worry. Get in touch and we can talk you through the options for moving to a responsive website.