by Kenneth Rudich
An SEO authority no less august than Google is very interested in the answer to this question.
Why? Because they don’t want their good name tainted by search results that send mobile users to websites with poor technical performance on handheld devices.
Poor technical performance can be construed as anything that causes the mobile user to become frustrated while trying to work the website. A prime example of this occurs when a desktop PC website loads into the handheld device as is.
It’s just too dang much real estate for a small screen to handle without setting up the user to encounter some grief – like the repetitive nuisance of having to pinch, zoom and scroll; pinch, zoom and scroll; pinch, zoom and scroll just to make it somehow workable.
Fans of jigsaw puzzles might think it’s fun, but most others likely not. Disconcerting is disconcerting, and the failure to be mobile-friendly is very disconcerting!
The Mobile-friendly Solution
This is known as “Responsive Web Design” or RWD. Google explains it like this: “The page uses the same URL and the same code whether the user is on a desktop computer, tablet, or mobile phone – only the display adjusts or “responds” according to the screen size.”
In the case of a handheld device, it pares down all the information into just the essentials, and then realigns it for optimal screen exposure. The user is freed from toiling with the technology at the expense of losing touch with the site’s mission and purpose.
Google likes RWD because it gives them a way to avoid being tagged as the bad guy. In November 2014, they announced the addition of a “mobile-friendly” label for their mobile search results.
They were compelled into making this move because of an appreciable twist in the consumer demand for their service. According to Google, “In the USA, 94% of people with smartphones search for local information on their phones. Interestingly, 77% of mobile searches occur at home or at work, places where desktop computers are likely to be present.”
To minimize the impact on their ability for delivering the most relevant search results, Google also provides step-by-step resources for website producers to use, so as to stay abreast of this change.
As a first step, these resources include the Googlebot test for determining if your website is mobile-friendly.
Give it a try. There’s nothing more reassuring than knowing you won’t be penalized by Google and consumers alike for having a website that defies the good common sense of giving them what they want.
Mobile Friendly Design
See the Googlebot outcome exclaim, “Awesome! This page is mobile-friendly.”
And then visitor comments like this may soon follow: “Hi! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new iphone! Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts! Carry on the great work!”
P.S. — If you’d like to learn more, this short Stylized PPT Video is jam-packed with good information for using local search marketing to get better local business results. It is based on a study titled, “Trends Shaping Local Search in 2014.”