In April of 2015, Google released a new addition to their algorithm for ranking websites – a mobile friendly change that soon became known as Mobilegeddon. Google frequently updates their algorithm to better serve their users. When google experiences a trend, they react to it. They noticed a great deal of users began searching through mobile devices, so they made a move to encourage sites to be more user-friendly on those devices in particular.
One of the biggest steps in creating a mobile friendly site takes place during the actual development stages, but keep in mind you can make changes to support mobile user experience at any time.
Step 1 – Understand Different Devices
The first step in making your website mobile friendly, and therefore likely to rank on search engines, is to understand the devices that people are using and how they use them. The first thing to remember about mobile phones is that the screens are small (although they seem to be getting larger). This means, on a mobile website you should not include:
- Large amounts of text
- Large fonts
- Scrolling storylines (cut to the chase)
You should also allow your website to adjust to the screen size so no pinching and dragging is required. This is called responsive.
Step 2 – Make it Responsive
Responsive sites render a desktop site into a mobile-friendly site with predefined media queries that adjust the way the site looks depending on the widths and even orientation of the device being used. A responsive site can be be created without changing the domain, making it easy to keep the integrity of your domain. With a responsive site, you only have to update your code once since it’s on one site.
Step 3 – Create a Mobile Site
You also have the option of creating a separate mobile site, which is basically a duplicate of your site but designed for the widths of mobile devices. The host of your site will see where the user is coming from and display either the mobile site or the desktop site. This allows you to create a more customized look just for mobile viewers. The mobile site is built out on another domain- typically m.domain.com. Do note that this can cause a problem, as having 2 different domains of the same site can hurt the main domain of your site.
By having 2 domains, it may lessen your domain authority because now you have to split your efforts into two separate domains. You want to focus all your energy and effort into one, large site bringing your target audience to one location, gaining higher conversion because your traffic is now directed to only one URL. If given a choice, responsive design will serve you better.
So where do you start? Know your audience and spend some time using the devices upon which they search. This will help you grasp their needs and design your website to be most valuable. Google always recommends those websites they feel are most valuable.
Check how friendly your site is here.