Are you "Responsive"?

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Have you made your website 'Mobile Responsive' yet? If not, you are potentially looking at lost traffic and a significant drop in search engine rankings not too far down the road according to our friends at Google.

Recently, there have been some important advances with regard to how websites display on mobile phones and other small screen devices. Until recently, this was achieved by having what was called a 'mobile-friendly' site which effectively was a second site and was designed to overcome issues associated with the parent site not displaying well on small screen devices. Mobile friendly sites usually have their own url address and are a separate version of the website.

But things have moved on in the last year or so with the development of 'mobile-responsive' sites. These are not a separate sites, they are the same site but with special enhancements and benefits for small screens such as drop-down menus and other space saving features. 'Mobile friendly' versions of a website are rapidly becoming a thing of the past.

Why does this matter? Google recently got very specific about the impact of not having a mobile-responsive website – on Thursday, February 26, 2015 on Webmaster Central Blog, Google announced that effective from April 21, 2015, it will update its search algorithm so that comparable mobile sites will rank higher than non-mobile friendly sites in mobile search results. Essentially, it has started penalising websites that are not mobile-responsive.

According to the announcement, Google said: “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. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

The directive from Google isn't the only reason to go Responsive. In our opinion it is about adopting the very best current practices when it comes to design and development. Responsive is an approach to web design aimed at crafting sites which provide an optimal viewing experience; easy reading; and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling; across a wide range of devices (from desktop computers to mobile phones). Consequently, we are giving all our clients the opportunity to decide whether or not they wish us to create a mobile responsive version of the site. The cost is not insignificant, and for many it will be depressing to think they have to throw money at further development. But in light of Google's announcement, we are recommending that companies who are concerned about search engine performance take out the option if they can.

Our policy is to ensure that all new websites display correctly of mobile platforms - (smart phones, tablets etc). We now ensure that all new sites (developed since 15th January 2015) are 'mobile responsive'. Websites developed prior to this can be redeveloped to become mobile-responsive, or, if the client so chooses, they can be left as they are.

The message seems clear, if your current website isn’t mobile friendly, it will start to drop in Google’s mobile search results. So pay attention to your search engine results pages (SERPs) and your site volume, and more importantly, put together a plan to upgrade your website to a responsive site. If you would like us to provide this option for you or wish to discuss this further, please contact us

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