Why Should I Care if Google is Ranking Mobile First?
You might be wondering what the hullabaloo about mobile first, amp pages, and mobile friendliness is all about—or you might be so consumed with keeping your business running and your clients happy that you haven’t thought twice about all this mobile website talk.
Unfortunately, for the smart business owner, there is no longer an option to ignore mobile pages and mobile-friendliness. Google is actively ranking non-mobile sites below mobile-friendly sites—all in an attempt to make sure people using their search engine are finding the results they are looking for quickly and easily regardless of the device they are using. So let’s get you up to speed on all that is mobile and why it matters to you as a business owner and marketer.
What is Mobile-Friendly vs Responsive?
A Mobile-Friendly website is a website that displays correctly on various handheld devices such as smart phones, tablets, etc. This type of website is optimized for the mobile user, but can run into problem on some smartphone or tablets as it is not a one-size-fits-all type of situation.
For example, generally these websites do not have everything that the desktop site does, so some functionality and content is missing. In order to quicken the load times, webmasters reduce the amount of text and eliminate larger images. While these sites load quickly and are designed for easy reading, typically the smaller menus, reduced text, and the elimination of larger images can be seen as a negative as these sites are not displaying all of the content that they could.
This is what a Mobile-Friendly website would look like:
A Responsive website is a website that changes or “responds” to the device and screen size that the website is being called from. So if you are looking at the website from a smartphone or a tablet, the layout will be slightly different. Even a smaller-screened smartphone could display a different layout—for example an iPhone 4 has a 3.5 inch screen and the iPhone 7 Plus has a 5.5 inch screen. The two inch difference between those two smartphones alone can help or hinder the overall consumer behavior on your website if you are not properly taking advantage of all that mobile has to offer.
This is what a Responsive website would look like (on two different devices/rotations so you get the idea):
I have NO idea if my website is Mobile-Friendly or Responsive, How can I check?
Google has made it super easy to check if your website is mobile-friendly with a mobile testing tool. Just plug in your URL and it will tell you if you are mobile-friendly or not. You can check if you site is responsive by grabbing the edge of your browser with your cursor and dragging it to adjust the size of the page. If the page automatically adjusts or “responds” to the changing page size, your website is responsive. You can also check to see if your site is responsive here.
If my website is Mobile-Friendly, isn’t that enough?
In short, no. While having a mobile-friendly site is great for current customers and might have gotten you this far in the game without too much friction, Google is explicitly going after Mobile as a ranking factor–and ranking Mobile First. While what you have might have been fine so far, moving forward you will need a responsive site in order to maintain or grow your organic search rankings.
I have AMP-enabled pages, isn’t that enough?
Having Accelerated Mobile Pages is fantastic, these pages of your blog or website will be handled as other mobile pages and indexed first. However, Google has still expressed that Responsive pages are their top pick.
My customers don’t find me or my business on their phones, Do I really need to worry about all of this?
Of course! Even if you think that your customer’s don’t find your business on their phones, keep in mind that most people use GPS on their phones through Google Maps or any other navigation app. These apps pull data from the internet including local search results.
In addition, Google announced that they are ranking Mobile First. Meaning that if a website has optimized for mobile or responsive and you don’t—they will rank before you in the results. Even if you strongly feel your customer’s won’t search for you with their phones, it is beneficial to have a game plan when it comes to mobile.
If you need help optimizing your website for mobile or swapping to a responsive design, contact Philly Marketing Labs and we would be happy to go over the options with you.