Google favours mobile-ready sites
A recent article from the BBC’s Zoe Kleinman tells us that Google is revising its search algorithms in favour of mobile-friendly sites to an extent that will have a “significant impact”.
This means that if your website does not render well on mobile devices, your site may not rank as highly as one that does. Sites typically can take one of two approaches to making themselves mobile friendly.
The first option is for the code to detect the platform the site’s being read on and direct the reader to a different site specifically written for mobile. While browsing on your phone, you may see the site’s URL using a specific subdomain: m.some-site.com or mobile.some-site.com, for instance.
The second, more fashionable approach is to use code that’s known as ‘responsive’. That is, code that renders itself automatically on different screen sizes. The back end of the site is built on a series of columns. As a rough example, if the site’s viewed on a PC, the site will be four or so columns wide. On a tablet in landscape or portrait the site may render three or two columns wide, while on a phone, the site will place all its content in one column.
Because of the ubiquity of the smart mobile device these days, Google is merely following the trend that more and more sites are being viewed on the move. And Google is in the business of making sure users get both useful and legible information. So, thus the revisions to search algorithms.
Google’s methods and algorithm revisions are a closely guarded secret, of course. Larger scale changes are often given amusing monikers such as Penguin, Pigeon, Pirate and Panda - you can read about them on the excellent moz.com site here - and have quite an impact on sites’ rankings. Where a carefully crafted site ranked well before a change, afterwards the same site can languish ‘below the fold’ or worse, on page 2 of search results!
Search engine optimisation (aka SEO, or the tweaking of a site and its reputation to maximise search rankings) is not so much a black art as a guessing game, and more than that, a guessing game largely after the fact, or rather, after the algorithm change.
However, web developers and site owners can test their site with Google’s online tool. If your website fails this test, it may well be time for a rewrite, if search engine rankings matter to you. It does to igeek clients! But we do lead by example: