The warning signs have been loud and clear since smartphones became the handsets of choice for mobile buyers, but Google’s announcement that it plans to penalise websites that fail its mobile-friendly test has finally shown non-responsive websites the red card.
The search giant has flashed a luminous yellow card in the direction of businesses that fail to use responsive web design to make their sites mobile friendly. In the past month Google has introduced a mobile-friendly label to its search results that website owners can only gain if their sites deliver the same user experience on a smartphone or tablet as a desktop browser.
Last year the search giant started to penalise sites that provide an unsatisfactory mobile search experience, but now it has gone a stage further.
In explaining the mobile-friendly tag move, Google asks: “Have you ever tapped on a Google Search result on your mobile phone, only to find yourself looking at a page where the text was too small, the links were tiny, and you had to scroll sideways to see all the content?”
This usually happens when the website has not been optimised to be viewed on a mobile phone, and Google goes on to say that this can be a frustrating experience for mobile searchers. “To make it easier for people to find the information they’re looking for, we’re adding a mobile-friendly label to our mobile search results,” it adds.
Sites that gain Google’s approval, and with it a mobile-friendly label in search results, invariably use RWD to deliver the following criteria:
In the world of digital marketing and all things web, RWD stands for Responsive Web Design and should not be confused with the shorthand for rear-wheel drive that car enthusiasts are fond of using.
Put simply, RWD allows a web page to respond to the type of device it is being viewed on by resizing itself to fit the whole page on any sized screen, from a mega-sized desktop to a laptop, tablet or 4-inch smartphone.
Non-responsive sites are built on a fixed, three-column grid. This works well on a desktop screen, but when viewed on a smaller tablet it forces the user – your customers – to scroll up, down and across the page to see the information they need, such as your contact buttons.
The problem is made worse by the fact smartphones and tablets can be viewed as a portrait or landscape modes.
Responsive web pages get round this problem by using fluid grids that resize themselves to fit to the edges of any screen by automatically adjusting the size of your text, images and buttons.
With more and more of us viewing websites on smartphones and tablets sites not designed to adapt to these smaller screen sizes will deliver a poor user experience.
And now Google has recognised the importance of RWD, sites not using fluid grids and software that is not compatible with all mobile devices will be relegated to the bottom of its search results.
This gets around the problem of a site delivering a poor mobile experience because it will no longer appear on Google search results.
You have 2 options to tackle this latest Google update – you can either completely re-design your website if your current one is more than 2 years old and you have the budget for it OR is many cases, you can turn your existing website into a responsive one by few modifications of the code. At Art Division we can help with both – send us your website URL and we will do a FREE code assessment.
Tags: Responsive Web Design