On April 21st, Google will officially update its search algorithm to consider mobile-friendly websites as a ranking factor in Google search results. Google has a tendency to prefer vague language when announcing the potential impact of its algorithm changes.
Not this time!
“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in search results. Users will find it easier to get high quality, relevant search results that are optimized for their devices.”
In their webmaster blog Google goes on to offer developers some guidance on prepping for these changes, which includes tests for usability issues. Google hinted regarding this major change several months ago, when in November of 2014 they announced the start of a “mobile-friendly label” to its search results.
Image courtesy of Google
This was inevitable because of the speed in consumer shift to mobile devices. One must understand Google is a business thriving in the digital age. That said, they must provide relevant, and high quality results to its users. With Google’s user base encompassing most of the globe it should be noted these users have increasingly gone mobile.
Google is pushing responsive web design (RWD) as its preferred mobile-friendly website design solution. In the same blog I mentioned earlier, Google suggests that if companies need help with the transition to check out its “guide to mobile-friendly sites” document along with a host of other resources and guides. One of the guides is, “What are the top three things I should know when building a site for mobile devices?”
“3. Select a mobile template, theme, or design that’s consistent for all devices (i.e., use responsive web design).”
In a highly complex digital market characterized by consumer driven behavior, brands must be able to ensure that customers can easily access their site from anywhere and enjoy a seamless user experience regardless of the device and platform they are on.
Responsive web design does just that, which resolves a number of issues for companies. By utilizing responsive design the elimination of a separate mobile site is gone, saving time and money. It also provides users with a seamless experience across devices, offering the same data no matter how they access a company’s website. With RWD, businesses are able to maintain brand integrity by delivering consistent messaging across the board. They can integrate mobile into their online presence to create a truly synergistic user experience, an experience focused on consumers rather than on devices.
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