Are you responsive or just friendly? Sounds like a question for an online dating site – but not so fast. These expressions explain the performance of your website when viewing it on the widest array of devices.
Google recently announced that their algorithm had changed to reflect a website’s mobile friendliness, which has become a factor in Google’s ranking. This new label that ranks mobile search results based on a website’s mobile friendliness spawned the rather creepily ominous term “mobilegeddon”.
It all has to do with an increasingly greater number of users using mobile-only devices for searching whatever. And that includes jewelry and luxury goods.
We asked web-whiz Marlene Murphy of Jewelry Website Designers to simplify the terms as it affects us, and demystify the news from Google that has left most of us treading with trepidation into the future.
Q:Explain what we need to know of Google’s latest announcement of ranking the mobile friendliness of search results.
MM: Google can now ascertain what type of device their customer (the internet searcher) is using. When I use my iPhone to “google” something, the top results now displays the words “mobile friendly”. If a jeweler’s website is not considered “mobile friendly” it will not appear in the top results – no matter how effective the site’s SEO has been in the past.
Q:What is mobile friendly and what is mobile responsive as it relates to our websites?
MM: “Mobile Friendly” describes a website that can be adequately viewed on a mobile phone or tablet. Google’s mobile friendly test considers if the site’s text is too small to read, the mobile viewport not set, and if links are too close together making it difficult to navigate with big fingers. Those no-no’s make it not “mobile-friendly”. And fortunately, Google offers tools for testing these elements. Many sites created just a few years ago may not ultimately be mobile friendly. Consequently they will not be displayed in Google’s mobile search results.
“Mobile Responsive” means a website is specifically designed to be viewed on a mobile device, any device. It’s the best and most effective type of format for its versatility and assurance to the site owner that their visitor will deliver the same user experience irrespective of what kind of device they employ. Google uses the term “mobile friendly” to encompass both terms friendly and responsive, but a site that is “mobile friendly” may not be “mobile responsive” and a website that used to be considered “mobile friendly” may no longer meet Google’s current algorithms.
Q:Does the mobile responsive site have key advantages for the user?
MM: Sure does. Convenience is number 1. People are now shopping while in their doctor’s office or while waiting for a train, or sitting in a restaurant. I personally seek out restaurants that provide free wi-fi for their customers. A mobile responsive site is the most convenient way to shop for and purchase goods online.
Q:In your view, about how many shoppers are actually searching from hand held mobile devices now – and why?
MM: Mobile device users now outnumber desktop users worldwide. An even more interesting trending pattern reveals “conversion rates” are highest on iPads and tablets. Conversion is the rate at which the web surfer moves from looky-loo to completing a purchase.
If your existing site is not mobile-friendly, depending on the age and design of the site, converting it to a mobile-friendly version may not be that difficult or expensive. Some older sites, however, may require a complete re-vamp. It’s better to learn now and know what challenges you’re facing as to the effectiveness of your site going forward.