It’s finally happened. Google has thrown down the proverbial gauntlet for businesses and website owners alike that still do not have a mobile friendly or responsive website. In just a few weeks, April 21st, 2015 to be exact, Google will be removing websites from their mobile search results that are not responsive or mobile friendly. If you already have a current website, you’re probably smiling right now. Many of your competitors that have outdated websites are about to take a big hit to their search engine traffic, which will adversely affect their businesses, but increase yours.
“Google, why would you do this to us?”Business owners that haven’t updated their websites for mobile are probably wondering “Google, why would you do this to us?” The answer is quite simple. Google is a business. And like any business, they want to maintain their reputation for being reliable and providing their customers with the best experience possible.
The best results to your search engine queries are almost always on the first page, and the website pages that reside on the first page don’t get there by accident. There are a myriad of attributes that can increase a website’s rank to reach the glory of the first page, from the quality of information you provide, to the page load speed. But one of the more important factors is user-experience. Is it easy for someone to find the information they are looking for? Is your website navigation intuitive? Do you keep your content up-to-date? Do your websites’ pages load quickly? The answers to all of these questions should be yes. And more importantly, they should be yes for all devices sizes, not just for a desktop. Take our website for example. Here are screen shots of the 6 most common ways a website is viewed on a variety of devices. You can see how a responsive design is implemented for a better user experience.
The laptop view is roughly the same as a desktop view, but if there’s a custom background, you wouldn’t be able to see much of it.
Small Tablet Vertical
Small Tablet Horizontal
Notice that there are 2 versions of the website on the same device, depending on if you are viewing it vertically or horizontally. The slider element is removed because at this width it’s too large to display without forcing the user to squint, so it disappeared from from view to maintain a positive user experience.
Currently about 60% of people use their smart phone or tablet when they want to do a search. 90% of people switch back and forth between phone, tablets, desktops, and laptops throughout the day.
So, if you enter a query into Google Search using your smart phone, you don’t want any of the results to be websites you can’t navigate easily or have to squint or zoom in to read. This isn’t new information, it’s been this way for several years now.
The first iPhone came out in 2007. That was 8 years ago. 8 years is an eternity in the web development community. If businesses still haven’t upgraded their website to be one you can easily view in any device, it appears that your online users are not a priority. Google does not want their users to have a negative user experience as a result of their search engine results. There is still time to prepare your website for the Google update though. If your website traffic has ever taken a hit from a search engine update, you know it’s much easier to stay prepared for them as opposed to trying to rebuild afterwards.
For more information on the update, here are some additional resources: