Search Marketing News & Views from Our Man on the Street

How Does Google’s Mobile Update Affect My Site ?

Today, April 21, 2015, is a date which live in infamy . . .

Ok. That may be overkill, but you really shouldn’t downplay the seriousness of Google’s Mobile Update scheduled to begin roll out today. Why? Well, for one thing Google told us about the update well ahead of time and that’s not usually how they do things. Usually, there are whispers of an algorithm change followed by weeks of monitoring site performance to determine what really changed and who was affected. The fact that we all got a heads up with time to prepare is significant.

That warning should also help you see this update as an attempt to improve search results based on user behavior, not to arbitrarily penalize sites. We have embraced mobile technology and this update is designed to guide us toward sites that simply work better with how we search. Almost 50% of Internet searches are done on a mobile device. As Internet users, why wouldn’t we want search results that lead us to sites built for mobile viewing?

For website owners and businesses, this update could be the catalyst to help you better serve your visitors by employing Responsive Design on your site. In case you missed it, it’s not all that difficult to build a site with Responsive Design. In fact, after redesigning your site it’s actually easier to maintain with Responsive Design because you have one site, one set of pages to maintain for desktop, laptop, tablets and phones. Building your site with Responsive Design allows your site to automatically resize itself based on the users screen size. There’s no need to scroll left and right or pinch to zoom in order to read what’s on your site. Your site just looks great no matter where it’s viewed.

So how difficult is it to rebuild your site with Responsive Design? It’s really not that bad. Take a look at these before and after pictures of a site we recently rebuilt.

Site Originally Built with Flash Navigation and Main Image Sliders

Site built with Flash and HTML

Same Site Re-Built with Responsive Design

Site built with Responsive Design, HTML and CSS

The site was originally built with Flash navigation and main image sliders. It also had two columns of text. The problem was that you couldn’t use Flash navigation on mobile devices, so the main menu was simply gone. Further, the main image sliders just under the main navigation was also invisible. That means no one could see the most impressive aspect of the site! Finally, the two column text is just tiny on mobile devices. In order to read it you have to pinch to zoom in and scroll left and right. That’s not a good user experience.

We rebuilt the site so that it looked almost exactly the same as it always looked. The difference is the navigation and image sliders are now viewable on mobile devices. The text, still in a two column layout, is readable on mobile devices because the two columns automatically stack on top of each other to enlarge the text. That’s why Responsive Design is so great. Once the site is built, you don’t have to do anything to deliver a greatly enhanced user experience. It all happens on its own.

So while some may panic about Google’s Mobile Update, those of us who have always recommended Responsive Design are smiling big. The sites we’ve built really shouldn’t see any ill effect from the update. The good news is that if your site isn’t ready for the update you don’t need to worry all that much. It will take about a week to fully roll out the algorithm update, so you’ve got time to get your site in order. Of course, if it takes you a little longer to rebuild your site, that’s ok too. It just means you might see a dip in Search Traffic until you join the rest of us.

Want to learn more about Responsive Design or discuss how we can help rebuild your site? Give us a holler!