The buzz is flying about in the market regarding the announcement made by Google for its upcoming mobile-friendly update. Not only the buzzes, there are bits and pieces of reliable information about this news also, which says that Google is making significant changes to its search algorithms for ranking the search results from mobile and it will be using the mobile-friendly factors to do that. This will take place with effect from April 21, 2015.
The enhanced use of mobile devices has made it the need of the hour to have such search results on mobile that gives the users quick, relevant, and timely results, no matter the information is on a mobile app or web pages. A huge number of people access internet through mobile devices only, and because of which Google has changed its algorithms depending upon the current usage pattern of mobile and desktop users. As per the announcement, it will now be easier for the users to locate the mobile-friendly web pages, and they can also now discover more mobile-friendly content.
The sites which are not mobile optimized have very tiny links, small texts, and the user has to scroll sideways to see and read the entire content, which is a frustrating experience for the mobile searchers. Hence, to make things easier for the mobile-device users, a mobile friendly site is essential. Below is what you can learn from the step took by Google of making all the websites compatible with the mobile. Take a look.
From 21 April, Google will expand the use of mobile-friendliness as a signal of SEO ranking. This will have a significant impact on the search results and will also affect the languages worldwide. Resultantly, this will give users the ease to access the information and content on their devices that have been optimized accordingly.
If you are a webmaster, you can make yourself ready with the following tools to see how your webpages are viewed by Googlebot.
> Mobile-friendly test for testing a few pages.
> The Webmaster Tools account for your site can be used for getting a full list of issues related to mobile usability across your site with the help of the Mobile Usability Report.
Google will now begin to use information from indexing apps as a ranking factor for the users who have the app installed and are signed-in. This will help in surfacing the content more prominently in search.
This is still unclear if mobile devices will be impacted by this change or not. May be the change will prove more impactful for Android devices, or may be for both Android and iOS devices equally. Although, currently the more significant changes are happening on Android as compared to iOS.
Also, deep linking is a point of main differences between mobile SERP’s on iOS and mobile SERP’s on Android. The deep linked iOS apps will easily be surfaced into a new framework. The other point, which is a little vague from Google’s side is that what all does it consider in the “mobile” devices.
Emails also have an increased impact on the SERP’s, from accessing of emails through mobiles have increased by 180% in last three years. Google is trying to take advantage of this engagement on a large basis. Optimizing emails for mobile search has also become important these days, and in the 4/21 update, Google could do more to push the schema mark up for emails to acquire personalized results. The incorporations like these describes that even if you will be able to maintain keyword ranking, after April 21, in mobile search, the amount of mobile traffic could not essentially be sustained by you.
Responsive design is considered a little harder to make as it requires extra attention to the CSS of the site and organization to ensure that the site runs on any size of the device. Responsive sites are flexible enough to keep performing and working on their own. Responsive websites loads only those layouts that work for every possibility, which makes responsive websites run a little faster.
Regardless of the device of the user, responsive web design serves the same HTML code on the same URL’s. However, the display could be different based on the different screen sizes.
<meta name=”viewport” content=”width=device-width, initial-scale=1″>
The meta name=”viewport” tag helps in adjusting the content.
On the other hand, when compared to responsive design, the end result offered by adaptive design is not satisfactory as it does not exhibit itself on a wide variety of screen sizes, which means it lacks flexibility, and it is one of the drawbacks of the adaptive design. The adaptive sites require occasional maintenance. They load all the probable layouts that they contain in their array. Loading all the layouts takes extra resources and time, and hence they are a bit slower than responsive websites.
In the adaptive setup, the server responds with different HTML’s on the similar URL. It depends on the request of the user requesting the page. To signal your changes use the vary HTTP header based on the user agent.
The third option for designing a mobile site is the separate mobile site, which is generally hosted on a sub-domain, for example m.example.com, or an a sub-folder, for example www.example.com/mobile. They are certainly sometimes hosted on these platforms, but they can also use the desktop site’s URL. If different URL’s are used by the mobile sites, they are often kept as collateral with their desktop rivals.
www.example.com/first-page and m.example.com/first-page
This allows the sites to redirect smoothly. There are unlimited options as it is a separate set of pages. You can also go for completely different site structure where all the mobile URL’s will also be different.
The alternate media header tag that can be used on a desktop site:
<link rel=”alternate” media=”only screen and (max-width: 640px)” href=”http://m.example.com/” />.
And canonical tag on mobile site:
<link rel=”canonical” href=”http://www.example.com”/>
Also in xml sitemap use the alternate tag: <xhtml:link rel=”alternate” media=”only screen and max-width: 640px” href=”http://m.example.com/” />
While judging up both the responsive and adaptive technologies, responsive design is a much safer and better option. The functions that it performs are always the same regardless of whatsoever screen size may come and go. It loads fast and is well worth the extra effort that is put into it. However, for some sites, which have just started out and requires the preservation of their resources, adaptive websites may prove to be better. Adaptive sites are a little easier to make, and the small audience and size of the start-up company will never let the loading time and flexibility become an issue.
The separate mobile site has both advantages and disadvantages attached to them, they often strip of some content and are also streamlined. This is done so that the layout of the site does not get cluttered while browsing the site on the phone. However, a separate mobile site is good for delivering pizzas at home, or for those, which require less content, but not all the users prefer to go for less content, instead they want to read all the available content on the main website. However, a separate mobile site may require higher maintenance and expenses, and the responsive design could prove to be a better return on investment for your company.
All the three technologies are better at their places, but if seen from a wider and long term perspective, investing in a responsive website is better so that you do not miss out any prospective audience and market that can lead you to growth.
So if your site meets the right conditions, Adaptive is a better option. If you are making a site specifically for mobile, then separate mobile site is good, Otherwise, Responsive is a better investment in making sure you don’t miss out on all the potential mobile customers search for you online.
Obviously, there are lots and lots of objectives here, and many more which have not been mentioned that Google wants to achieve as it want to majorly provide an amazing mobile experience to the users. Other than offering a great experience, they are also into making money by easily surfacing the apps in search results. This can help them drive better app development for Google play, which they can monetize like their other contents such as books, television shows, music and movies, all of which were in a tough competition recently with Amazon, Hulu, iTunes and iOS App store.
Concluding the things precisely, April 21 is certainly the date of change in the search trends of users and the company as well, and therefore it would be interesting to see that who all could withstand this future search algorithm update from Google to maintain the ranks of their websites.
Gagan Singh is working in digital marketing dept. of Konstant Infosolutions. He is known for his quick wit and his immense flair for the social media platform. Under his guidance, Konstant Infosolutions has become a force to be reckoned with in the world of social media and information sharing. His personal life revolves around the sport of Cricket, reading up on trending technology topics and in his spare time he enjoys experimenting with Indian cum Italian cuisine.