Crikey. What happened?
Google decreased the rank of websites which weren’t ‘mobile friendly’ in order to stimulate mobile optimisation of the web. It may have felt like a very logical step in today's smart and connected world, but we need to understand the huge implications this has had for online business.
First, ask yourself how much your business depends on web purchases or online-led generation?
This would be the perfect moment, in fact, to act quickly and stay – or get – one step ahead of the competition. And if your competitors have already entered the mobile world, now’s a good time to make sure you get on the same 'page' as them.
So, what’s a mobile-friendly website?
When using Google's search engine on a smartphone, you’ll notice a 'mobile friendly' label on the left of the search results. This helps users – i.e. your potential clients – to recognise websites which are optimised for the device they’re currently using.
You can test your current website via a tool that Google offers for developers to see how it appears to mobile users. You can access the tool here: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/
How do I optimise my website for Google?
To make sure Google will like your website again, you have 3 different options:
- Responsive websites
This is the solution that Google actually prefers. Based on the screen resolution of the device – be it a desktop computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone – the website 'responds' by shrinking or expanding your site. In other words: optimising the way content is displayed. Think of the adjustments in terms of size, layout and navigation. There is just one piece of HTML code that controls all of this, operating on one URL.
- Dynamic serving websites
This also allows for the display of multiple versions of your website via one URL. However, it uses different HTML codes depending on which device is viewing it. The piece of code it uses depends on a 'user agent' – a string which identifies the type of browser and operating system. The advantage of this option is that it creates a more appealing experience for your mobile users.
- Separate websites
This solution uses separate websites on different URLs – www.example.com and m.example.com, for instance – each serving a specific (type of) device. Usually, there is some kind of detection – similar to the ‘user agent’ – that redirects visitors to the optimal page for their device.
Can you help me optimise my website for Google?
Of course! We're here to help create rich website experiences. So please don't hesitate to get in touch with us to discuss the possibilities for optimising your website.
Author: Niels van Eijkelenburg
General Manager, Norvell Jefferson (The Netherlands)