Google’s ‘Mobilegeddon’ just got tougher!

Google announced last year that it would begin penalising sites which weren’t mobile-friendly. Now it’s set to increase the importance of that part of its algorithm, meaning non-responsive sites are going to be ranked even lower!

What does responsive mean?

The word “responsive” literally means to react quickly, and positively. In terms of web design it means that websites will respond to the device they’re being loaded on by repositioning elements and increasing text size to help make the site easier to read.

There are essentially two ways to do this, and Google doesn’t differentiate between the two. You can either have a responsive site (where your normal website responds to different screen sizes) or you can have a completely separate mobile site (usually denoted by a slight change in the URL, for example siteurl.com/mobile or m.siteurl.com). A completely separate mobile site will need to automatically forward mobile users in order to pass Google’s responsive segment of its algorithm.

There are benefits to each method, but at Milton Bayer we prefer to stick with a single URL and tweak the code to make your site mobile-friendly.

How can it help my users?

Having a responsive site allows users to view and use your site on any device without having to zoom in or out to read content. This better user experience can convert into more sales or users signing up to your service, and will certainly reduce your bounce rate.

What does Google mean when it says it’ll penalise non-responsive sites?

In a nutshell, if your site is not mobile-friendly, you will rank below sites which are.
Mobile (and tablet) web browsing has increased continuously over the last 7 years, and is projected to continue to grow – maybe even overtaking desktop browsing eventually!

The graph below shows the percentage increase of mobile and tablet browsing since December 2008.

Graph showing the percentage of market share for desktop vs. mobile vs. tablet

Graph generated by http://gs.statcounter.com/

If your site is not adapting to mobile and tablet screen sizes, you could potentially be losing out on sales to over 50% of the visitors to your site! Below is an anonymous selection of data from 10 of our websites, showing the number of visitors accessing the site on desktop, mobile, and tablet. For the percentages of visitors accessing the site on a mobile device, mobile and tablet numbers have been added together.

Number of Sessions between
20 Feb 2016 – 21 Mar 2016
% of visitors accessing the site on a mobile device
Desktop Mobile Tablet
12’664 13’467 5’691 60.20%
1’333 1’178 608 57.26%
1’602 1’043 611 50.80%
2’158 1’854 1’614 61.64%
3’772 2’371 969 46.96%
128 46 80 49.61%
1’159 730 1’174 62.16%
14’122 4’573 6’919 44.87%
1’918 2’055 1’162 62.65%
118’522 49’445 50’183 45.65%
Average: 54.18%

 

How can I check if my site is responsive?

Luckily Google offers a tool to check whether your site is responsive. All you need to do is input your website’s URL into the field and it’ll tell you whether your site is mobile-friendly or not.

Screenshot of Google's responsive site test tool

Don’t worry if any of this is confusing, feel free to get in touch with us and we’ll happily help you determine whether your site is responsive or not.

Help! My site isn’t responsive! What do I do?

First of all don’t panic! Google won’t roll out its algorithm change until May.

Secondly, drop us a message. Either give us a call on 01604 704100, or use our contact form and we can help ensure your site is made completely mobile-friendly before this change is rolled out.

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Natalie de Weerd

Natalie de Weerd

Developer at Milton Bayer, specialising in frontend development and responsive web design. I love discovering new web technologies and playing around with them!

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