PSA for all the website designers, webmasters and digital marketers out there: mobilegeddon has officially begun. Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller announced today, via Twitter, that the most recent Google algorithm update, affectionately known as “mobilegeddon,” has completed its rollout. The changes are done, the update is complete, and in case you don’t believe us, here’s the tweet from Mueller himself:
FYI The mobile changes mentioned here are now fully rolled out. https://t.co/fTB3ia6LJ2
— John Mueller (@JohnMu) May 12, 2016
If this is news to you, let’s get you caught up:
The “mobilegeddon” update was put in place to make the web, most specifically Google, friendlier to mobile viewers and net surfers. Here’s more about it, straight from the horse’s mouth: Making the Web More Mobile Friendly. In its most basic form, this Google update gives websites that have mobile versions, or responsive designs, a higher ranking than those that don’t.
Why, you ask?
Because way more than 50% of all web traffic today is mobile. People don’t have time to get to their computers to look something up. They’d rather just ask Siri, or use the tablet already in their hot little hands to get the information they’re looking for.
But why can’t they just look at my desktop site on their phone?
Because Google said so, duh. But in all seriousness, sites configured singularly for desktops are bigger and require more bandwidth to load. They have bigger images, bigger designs, and can be difficult to navigate on a screen a third of the size. A mobile-friendly design ensures that pictures load quickly, people can scroll easily past images, and can access your great content quickly and efficiently. If you want to know more about the benefits of a mobile responsive website, check out our article 3 Compelling Reasons Your Site Should Be Mobile Responsive. It’ll also give you some more info on the “mobilegeddon” update.
Is your site mobile?
Unfortunately, if the answer to that question was no, your site is probably going to suffer following these updates. Google will now rank sites that are mobile friendly over those that only conform to desktop screens, so it’s in your best interest to make your site accessible to those who use it most.
How can you configure your site for mobile viewers?
You’ve got options here. It might sound like a lot of work, but depending on what kind of website you currently have, there’s a few different ways to make your site mobile-friendly and avoid those nasty penalties.
Your top mobile-friendly design options:
Responsive Design – Probably the most fluid option, a responsive website design means your site automatically reconfigures based on the screen it’s being accessed by. Whether you’ve got people looking at your site on a tablet, a desktop, a smartphone, or one of those insane smartwatches, your website will resize images and content to fit the size of the screen it’s being viewed on.
This is a fairly easy option to maintain, since it’s the exact same website on all screens. Once it’s set up to be responsive, you can pretty much forget about it. There are options to hide certain things in mobile view as well, in case you’re worried the screen will be too busy or crowded.
Mobile site – Say you already have your desktop design, and you love it and don’t want to change it at all. Then, you might be a good candidate for a mobile site. Essentially, a mobile site is a different website built specifically for mobile devices. When people access your website from their smartphones or tablet, it automatically sends them to the mobile site.
It’s great in terms of delivering exactly what type of content a mobile viewer might be looking for, and it’s fairly simple to install. The downside is that you will have to put in a bit more effort since you’ll have to update each site individually, and you’ll want to avoid duplicate content for SERP penalty reasons. But if you’re looking for a quick fix to your mobile-friendly issue, this could be a great solution.
Dynamic Serving – Kind of a catch-all option, this is a mobile-responsive design that uses one URL, so there’s no duplicate content concerns, but tailors the mobile version directly to mobile customers. The mobile end of a dynamic serving site may only contain the bare minimum; it’s a quick, sleek, fast-loading “convenience-store” solution, that allows customers to get in and get out with exactly what they need in the least amount of time.
This is a great option if you know there’s things people want to access quickly on a mobile site, and if you offer more in-depth content for exploration on the desktop version. The downside is that it is a very technical setup, and can be expensive to maintain.
If you know your website needs to be configured for mobile viewers, but you’re not sure how to go about it, give HA Digital Marketing a call. We can answer questions and help you decide how best to optimize your site for mobile viewers.