Something we’ve suspected was going to happen for a while now has recently been confirmed in a recent press release by the Big G, and it could effect your business.
Google is reaching for the wooden spoon, intending to spank businesses with non mobile friendly websites. They started testing “mobile friendly” search icons back in September, and have since announced that they will be rolling out algo tweaks favoring sites that are mobile friendly vs those which are not.
Mobile devices have surpassed desktops, meaning more and more people are using their phones and tablets to surf the net. Google is all about optimizing “user experience” these days, and websites that are easy to navigate on any screen size are considered a must and might start to be rewarded with better search engine placement vs the old fashioned static layouts.
You’ve been there before. You visit a website on your smartphone or tablet and the site appears all tiny and impossible to read. You have to pinch zoom in on the navbar to try and read the links, then swirl all over the page and unzoom and zoom again to try and read the info you seek. It’s a pain in the rear.
Sites designed with “Responsive Design Elements” can crunch down on the smallest screen size and inflate back up all the way to HDTV sizes and remain perfectly function-able and easy to navigate. Initially, responsive design was a bit of a mess. Sure the sites looked good on a variety of screen sizes, but the page load speeds were sloth like, and functionality on certain screen sizes always seemed to suffer a bit.
Now were into the third wave of responsive website design, and things are looking much better. Browsers have been tweaked to handle the code more effectively, and the templates used on the sites themselves have been optimized and work very fluidly. For the most part. There are still folks out there pitching older formats which do not function well. Our advice is to always ask to see a demo site before you choose to work with a particular designer or developer. Ask to see the template in action, and view it on your own smart phone to test it out.
Here at BadgerlandMedia we actually put a system together which takes an old non-responsive website and converts it into a responsive format in a matter of days. It’s a great option for business owners who don’t have the time to deal with a “total website re-design.” Contact Us for details.
In reality, the takeoff here shouldn’t be a fear of being slapped in the rear by Google for not having a mobile friendly website. Google usually rolls out changes like this slowly. So it will be awhile before non-responsive websites start getting hammered with negative search engine placements. What you should be more concerned about is your image and your customers. Do you really want your business represented by one of those non-responsive sites that look like crap on smart phones and tablets and piss people off when they have to pinch zoom and scroll all around the screen to find your contact info?
Remember, in many instances it’s your website that’s making the first impression on potential customers. If you want to stand out as a leader in your local market, a cleanly designed responsive website can be a great way to go.