On April 26th 2015, Google officially announced that mobile-friendly website design will be used as a ranking factor for results they return. You can read the full blog post here.
This means that if your website is not mobile-friendly, you are now at a disadvantage in attaining high search engine rank with Google.
Based on trends in website traffic patterns, we have been advising our clients to develop mobile-friendly sites since early in 2012. Even back then, many of our clients were seeing 40-50% of their website traffic using mobile devices of some sort. That trend has grown even more since then.
What is a mobile-friendly site? More importantly, how do you get one?
A mobile-friendly site is one that has been designed to accommodate smaller screen sizes found on those devices. If you need to pinch and zoom to read your website, it’s not mobile-friendly. For a more comprehensive test of mobile readiness, you can use the free Google Mobile-Friendly test.
There are a several different approaches to developing a mobile-friendly website. At TD Media, we are big proponents of a method called mobile first adaptive design. Instead of creating a completely different mobile website, and then having to maintain those two different sites in parallel, we create a single site that is designed to progressively add content and features as larger screen sizes are available.
This approach creates a super lightweight, fast-loading mobile site while loading additional large-sized images, and other assets which are not appropriate for mobile visitors, only on larger screen sizes. You can see examples of this approach here:
To simulate a mobile device using a desktop browser, just resize the window to make it skinnier.
Obviously with Google throwing its weight behind the idea, mobile-friendly instantly just became more important. However, the true benefit can be seen by looking at visitor engagement and conversion metrics before and after a mobile-friendly site redesign.
It is not uncommon for us to see a 20%-30% increase in the number of people who fill out a web form on mobile devices after we launch a mobile-friendly version of the site. By removing the friction associated with pinch and zooming their way through a web site, you dramatically increase usability for your website visitors. That’s a good thing even if they didn’t find your site through Google.
If you would like more information on creating a mobile-friendly version of your website, please contact us for a free consultation.