Web tip – Respond to Mobilegeddon with responsive design

Is Google’s mobilegeddon stressing you out? Are you one of the many brands scrambling to optimize their website for mobile users today, the day Google’s search update went into effect?

Today, we’ll demonstrate why responsive design is the best choice for your website to respond (get it?) to Google’s search update.

What’s all the fuss about?

Google is boosting the ranking of mobile-friendly sites on mobile search results starting today (April 21). Ignore the doomsayers asking whether your site will survive this update. We promise it will, but if your site isn’t mobile optimized, you’ll start seeing your traffic drop.

We broke down how Google’s change will affect your organic traffic last month, but to simplify: Google wants to deliver the best possible search results to every searcher and almost everyone is searching Google from their smartphones at one time or another. (According to GlobalWebIndex, 80% of online adults own a smartphone (50% own a tablet) and spend 1.85 hours a day online from their mobile devices.)

If someone is searching for a new blender, Google intends to deliver the best blender vendors and blender reviews available. That means relevant information, and yes, an optimized user experience on the site.

If Google has to pick between a blender vendor with a site optimized for easy shopping from a smartphone, or a site where the searcher has to pinch to zoom to see blender options, squint to see the text, and struggle to click the Buy Now button, Google is serving up the optimized site – starting today.

The non-mobile-optimized website can still be found on Google, of course, but it will be lower in rankings than the mobile-friendly vendor, and lose traffic as a result.

Responsive design is the best response to Mobilegeddon

Responsive design is a mobile-friendly design technique that serves the same code on the same URL regardless of device (desktop, tablet, mobile), but renders the display differently based on the screen size. Responsive design ensures that a website visitor receives a fantastic user experience, whether they are on a smartphone, tablet or desktop, like so:

Currey-Co-Responsive-Design-Example

Responsive is a set of choices a developer makes to ensure the site is easy to interact with from all devices. A simple design that isn’t cluttered or content heavy, and won’t take a decade to load on a cell phone is a safe start. Navigation is often streamlined to make finding information easier and imagery and icons can also guide the visitor to pertinent content without forcing them to scroll a lot.

There are other design techniques (dynamic serving and separate URLs are two approaches), but responsive design is Google’s recommended design pattern. We recommend responsive to our own clients because it’s easier to maintain (updating one site vs. two), and you get all the mobile-friendly enhanced usability. See how it’s just as easy to input contact information and sign up for our client Mud Pie’s emails from both the desktop and phone.

MudPie-Responsive-Design-Example

Takeaways

Google’s search update wasn’t a haphazard decision to decrease your organic traffic. Mobile is simply a channel embraced by everyday users. It’s a good thing. Every time someone searches for your site, regardless of the device they use, is an opportunity for you to capture their attention. Google is making it easier for brands to capture the attention of their mobile audience.

If you want to maintain optimal levels of search traffic, than you need a mobile-friendly website. We build mobile-friendly and responsive websites and emails for tons of clients. Reach out if we can help you map out your mobile strategy. We also write about both topics regularly, so we’ll keep you up to date.