Put it in your diary, set your alarms, call your web designer – important news alert from Google.
If your website is not responsive (and that means if, when viewed on a mobile site, visitors see the desktop version and have to zoom in and out and move the screen sideways to read the content) then April 21st might not be a good day for you.
Because Google has just announced that as of April 21st, they will be expanding their use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. That means now more than ever, responsive web design matters.
We live in a mobile world and responsive web design matters.
Already, in the US, browsing on mobile devices has overtaken browsing on desktop devices, and the balance in the UK is set to tip in the same direction this year.
And as a result of this, Google has just announced (and this information comes straight from the horse’s mouth)
‘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.’
To put it simply, responsive websites are going to rank over non-responsive sites, even if previously the content, quality and long-standing history of the non-responsive site had given it a higher ranking than the responsive site.
The easiest way to see if your site features responsive web design or not is to load it on a mobile screen. If the text is too small to read, the links are too close together and the content is wider than the screen, meaning you have to move the screen sideways to read the content, then the site is non responsive. If however, the site rearranges itself and you can just start reading with ease and navigate through content by scrolling down, then the site was built with responsive web design in mind.
Altenratively, put your site through a quick test here
And if your site is not responsive, what should you do?
Well really, nows the time to think about a redesign. While mobile used to be a consideration, mobile is now the focus for web savvy developers. If almost half of your audience is going to be looking at your site on mobile, why would you take the risk of cutting them off. That would be like slamming a shop door shut in the face of half of your customers.
When redesigning your site, check the developer is building a responsive site that will work across all devices. Only then can you be sure that your website will reach all your potential audience.