Google announced earlier this year that their search engine algorithm will start rewarding websites that are "mobile-friendly." As the terms entails, this means that sites with responsive designs will gain an advantage in site rankings. This is Google's way of pushing people and businesses toward the goal of a mobile-friendly web. Since this search engine update has the potential to cause some substantial changes, it's important that you know what responsive design means.
You may be familiar with the frustration of scrolling around a web page on your phone or tablet because the words are too small or the buttons are too close together. This is why responsive design has been adopted. This new practice seeks to optimize the layout of a web page for every single device. This is different from a mobile website. The reason being that all the URLs are the same. In a mobile site, different devices are directed to different web pages. However, a website that has a responsive design will check for the resolution of the device and display a layout optimized for that site.
To see this in action, check out ESPN and MailChimp. If you don't have a tablet or phone at hand, resize your browser window on those two sites. You will see how the elements get rearranged and resized to fit the changing browser resolution.
It's important to note that this update will have significant effects for small businesses. Although this does not strongly affect strong brands such as ESPN and CNN as much, all website owners need to be aware of their site's responsiveness. Small businesses particularly need that exposure and ranking benefits on the web since their brand may not be so recognizable.
If you aren't sure if you're website is responsive, test your site on various devices. Is the text readable? Are the buttons and links easy to tap? Do the pages load quickly? You can also use Google's mobile-friendly test. If you answered yes to those questions and passed Google's mobile test, then you're site is probably in good shape. As always, if you have questions feel free to contact us at Igniting Business!