RESPONSIVE WEB SITES
Responsive web design is not just a buzzword or a passing trend to ignore. Rather, it’s the new standard in professional web design and search engine optimization. It’s common for people to use multi-screen browsing, meaning they may access a website on desktop, then a laptop, and then later on a smartphone. So your website needs to adapt to the myriad ways in which your visitors are accessing it. 2014 was the first year when mobile internet traffic surpassed desktop traffic, and recent reports show that 60 percent of total digital media time is spent on smartphones and tablets.
WHAT IS RESPONSIVE DESIGN?
Simply put, a responsive website displays all the content, images, and structure of that website in a viewable and usable manner, regardless of the device it’s being accessed from. The pages, text and link spacing all adjust to fit the size of the screen, whether it’s a desktop computer or a smartphone.
GOOGLE’S NEW SEARCH ALGORITHM
Whatever your personal preference, the simple fact is that two-thirds of all searches on the internet are done by people using Google; and 83% of all mobile searches use Google. While Bing and Yahoo are contenders, their market share just isn’t anywhere near that. And Google not only says that responsive design is great, it recommends responsive design as the top website configuration.
Beginning April 21, mobile friendliness will be a ranking criteria for websites on Google. Per Google’s Webmaster Central Blog: “Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.” (http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2015/02/finding-more-mobile-friendly-search.html) The algorithms will favor mobile-friendly sites, using a real-time, page-by-page basis to determine mobile friendliness.
Google isn’t penalizing non-responsive sites so much as now heavily weighing mobile-friendliness in its mix of factors for ranking. To decide whether you need to invest in mobile right now, look at your current website analytics, your target audience, and your marketing strategy. A successful mobile-friendly website is more than one that just fits the screen, so think it through first.