Your Mobile Optimisation Approach
If any of your content isn’t optimised for mobile, it’s really important that you make some changes in light of the new algorithm which launched on 21st April 215. Even the best landing page in the world will see drastically diminishing returns after 21st April 2015 if it’s not optimised for mobile.
To remedy the situation you have several options. Google recognises three different configurations as “mobile friendly.” You can move your content to any of the following set-ups and be protected from the change.
1) Responsive Design
The reason responsive design is so desireable is that it doesn’t create two copies of the same site. Viewers only have one URL to go to and the website will adapt as they move from phone to tablet to desktop and beyond.
2) Dynamic Serving
Like responsive design, a dynamic serving approach keeps the same URL — but this time, the HTML actually changes. Dynamic serving uses user-agents to “sniff” out what kind of device the viewer is using and then dynamically serves up the appropriate view.
3) Mobile Website
Creating a separate mobile website was one of the earliest versions of mobile optimisation, and it still works for Google’s requirements. Upon a new user arriving, this configuration tries to detect the users’ device, then redirects to the appropriate website using redirects.
The reason this method isn’t as recommended as responsive design is it requires you to maintain — and Google to crawl — two versions of your content. In addition, it can be a disruptive experience for someone who accidentally clicks on the mobile link, possibly shared through social or email, while on a desktop computer.
Why is Responsive Design the Best Choice?
There are lots of reasons responsive makes sense as the best way to optimize your site right now.
Website visitors like it.
From a visitor’s standpoint, responsive is pretty seamless. It’s the same URL (address) and the same HTML (content) — it just adapts and gets re-proportioned based on the viewer. That means if you email yourself a link from your phone and then re-open it on your desktop, it’s going to be a consistent experience, either way.
Google likes it.
From Google’s standpoint, there are a few things Responsive does really well. For starters, it saves resources when Googlebot crawls your site. Rather than crawling multiple sites, the Googlebot can go to one place which increases efficiency and helps Google index more content. It also helps Google’s algorithms more accurately assign indexing properties to a piece of content without needing to check two places.
Marketers and website owners like it.
A responsive site requires less time to maintain because you don’t have multiple pages for the same content. It also requires no redirection of users based to other URLs based on their device, which speeds up the load time of your website — and faster sites lead to more conversions.
Google’s List of Common Mistakes
In addition to the mobile-optimisation tool, Google has also put together a list of common mistakes to avoid in optimising your site for mobile devices and the algorithm change. These mistakes include using flash video and other unplayable content types on mobile as well as having a slow mobile site.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few remaining questions you might have about the change.
1) I’m not ready for a redesign. Do I have to do this now?
You may not need to fully redesign it now to comply with Google’s requirements for mobile-friendly sites. What you do need to do is move your existing site, blog or landing pages to a mobile friendly platform.
2) Is my site permanently penalised if I don’t optimize for mobile now?
No you can rebuild search credit after the fact. But you should try to move quickly on it because every day that your site isn’t optimised for mobile is a day that you’ll lose traffic.
3) What other elements should I consider in optimising my website for mobile?
In addition to ensuring that the site loads properly and the font is big enough for mobile, you’ll want to consider the length of your forms on mobile devices. If you have a landing page tool that allows you to swap out forms for people visiting on mobile devices, build shorter forms into your strategy.