The Sky is Falling! The Sky is Falling! … Not really, but many business website owners may think it has on April 21st. That is the day that Google officially activates an algorithm that will negatively affect any website that is not mobile enabled, or responsive in design.
The share of mobile Internet usage is at an all-time high and continuing to go up. There are roughly 80 million smartphones and mobile devices in use in the US alone, and Google has been threatening for some time to give sites that provide a more versatile mobile user experience more weight in search. That day is April 21st, 2015.
There are two distinct types of “mobile” versions for websites. A responsive website is one singular website that works on all devices and displays correctly on any screen, and a mobile website is basically a second version of an existing site. The advantage to having a responsive site design is primarily that only one site has to be created and maintained, while a mobile version of a website basically means you have two sites to maintain. The benefit to responsive site design is that while it may be slightly more costly to build it in the first place, it will always display correctly , regardless of the device on which it is displayed. Either option however, will help you come April 21st.
Basically, businesses will need to pick a lane, a mobile version or responsive design if they want to stay on Google’s good side after the algorithm goes live. At CFWebmasters we have been fielding calls daily from worried business owners. They are genuinely concerned that all the time and effort spent on search marketing will be impacted now that Google officially announced that as of April 21, 2015 mobile search engine results pages (SERPs) will be impacted by the mobile-friendliness of a website. But don’t panic, business owners can check to see if their site is mobile ready by using Google’s free mobile-friendly checker here and if your site fails, give us a call and ask for either the cheaper mobile version, or the more long term solution of a responsive site design. Mobile only sites may be a “quick fix” but we should point out that Google actually recommends responsive site design.
In the end it comes down to the fact that Google is the 800 pound Gorilla in the room and they are really about making search better for people. They will always put algorithms in effect to ensure that the public is best served by using Google, rather than a competitor. If business owners want to attract Google users, they have to play in their ball park, and a reputable digital marketing firm or web developer can help put you there. Obviously, we can recommend one if you’re looking.