Firstly did you know Google search changes which are coming? The changes are related to mobile-friendly websites and the positive ranking factor having a mobile friendly site brings. We now have a date 21st April 2015. Some analysts are calling this time “Mobilegeddon“, predicting the effects to be felt much harder then both the previous Panda and Penguin changes. I believe with the current industry trends to focus on mobile design, it is most likely not far fetched to assume the effects will be felt hard. However, like with the previous updates the high competition keywords will be the first to feel the effects and filtering down to the less competitive markets over time.
So depending where your site fits, your site may still perform after the 21st April 2015 however if the site is not mobile friendly I would expect to see a negative influence on your ranking, especially as your competitors start to improve their own website presence, so you best prepare.
How to prepare
If your site is already mobile-friendly, you won’t have much to worry about. Though I would strongly recommend using Google’s tools to evaluate your mobile readiness and obtain a report. Both Developer tools and Webmaster Tools offer tools to provide you insight into the mobile-friendliness of your website.
However, if you’ve not yet implemented a mobile strategy for your online presence, now is the critical time to get it done.
My site is not responsive, can you simply just convert my existing website to a responsive version?
Sort of, though let me explain.
Imagine you bought a new laptop right before the updated model was announced, this model comes with an awesome hi-definition display. If you took your laptop back to the store and asked them to add the new display to your existing laptop, the guys are likely to simply stare at you blankly.
This is due to your laptop not having the hardware necessary to make it the same, in-order for that to happen it would need to be taken apart, completely rebuilt and then reassembled. This is very similar to moving from a desktop-only website to a responsive mobile-friendly website. That is, your website would have to be basically taken apart and completely rebuilt, mostly because the code and structure necessary to make the website responsive just wasn’t around when the site was originally built.
Really love my website, can I keep my current web design?
The short answer is yes. But it might not be worth it for the the following reasons, going back to our earlier laptop example, there is very little physical difference between the 2 laptops, however the difference is what is underneath the hood, it is the internal components that get the upgrade, not the shiny side.
Similarly, if you want, you could keep the physical look of the site the same and simply rewrite most of the underlying code so that it works on more devices.
However, there are a few problems with this:
- Firstly, your site may simply look a little tied when compared to modern web design techniques. Things in the online world move fast, users expect more from a site and visuals are a big part of their expectations and the assumptions they make of your business.
- Your current design is simply not optimised for small screens. Sure it may look OK, though you will find many times taking a desktop design and shrinking it down for smaller screens like smartphones can be hard to optimise because we have been designing the site for an entirely different purpose. The simplest difference is using your finger direct on screen or using a mouse, two totally different methods. This is why I now recommend a mobile-first approach to all re-design projects.
- Over time you have most likely crammed your site full of content, promo images, banners etc… When we look at small screen design, we focus on essential elements and the business intent of the user. Ie if they have come to your site on a phone, “what are they looking to do?” and “what would you like them to do?”
How do I get a mobile friendly site?
I believe that everyone should have a mobile friendly website and for the next 2 months (ending 31 May 2015) we are offering a discount off our standard agency rate for conversions or re-designs of existing sites.
So basically let’s get mobile friendly and keep those great search rankings in place. Contact me now.