On Tuesday 21 April Google rolled out massive changes to its closely guarded search algorithm in a 'mobile friendly update'.
The update means that websites will be ranked higher if they are fully optimised for mobile, and, consequently, ranked lower if they aren't.
In order to be mobile friendly, a website should have text that is easily readable without tapping or zooming, with appropriately spaced tap targets, and should not have unplayable content or horizontal scrolling.
Google has provided a handy tool to test how mobile friendly your website is. If your website is lacking, there are a few approaches to making your website more mobile - and Google - friendly, including:
- Responsive design
A responsive website adjusts its width and height to every screen, as well as its menu, sidebar and images. While the cost of developing a responsive website is higher than adding a mobile version, it is a better experience for users and likely cheaper to maintain over the long term.
- Separate mobile site
The alternative choice is to develop a second version of your classic website for use on mobile devices. While the initial cost of this is lower, the second website has to be maintained separately to the classic website, possibly incurring greater costs over time. It can also be a disruptive experience if users click on a separate mobile site (for example, through a social media link) on their desktop.
Whether through responsive design or a separate mobile site, Google’s announcement means that the time has definitely come to embrace the world of mobile friendly website design.