Are you ready for the Google Mobile era?

Written by Tim McLarty

April 2, 2015

Is your website mobile?  If you’re not sure what that even means, here are a few other cranium cranking phrases.  Responsive and adaptive.  However you want to look at it, starting April 21, Google will officially begin their love affair with mobile friendly websites.

Google Mobile

The announcement on their website is as follows:

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.

You’ve probably been getting a lot of notes and seen various white noise announcements online warning you that the sky is falling come April 21.  That’s not necessarily true.  It simply means, your competitors will slowly start to get the jump on you in organic rankings.   And Google, always labelling themselves as the purveyor of all that’s good and right for the web, is actually right this time.  More and more people are spending more and more time away from their desktop and on their devices.

How many more people?  In 2014 64% of Americans owned a smart phone and 55% of Canadians.  And that number is rapidly increasing.

Who will be left behind?  Any company that doesn’t make moves towards creating a mobile friendly version of their website.   But what’s the difference between mobile friendly and responsive?

Mobile friendly explained.  Not that long ago many companies placed a  code on their main welcome page that sensed what device the visitor was viewing on.  The page would then send the visitor automatically to the mobile site.  That site was built narrow and stacked the content in a viewer friendly manner and generally had a simpler version of the desktop site. Companies essentially were creating two separate websites.  Desktop and mobile.  The trend today however is towards one well engineered site that is totally responsive.  A responsive site has code that automatically moves your content around and resizes it according to the width of the device you’re viewing the site on.  This works much better because it means designing and maintaining only one site; a site that doesn’t need to be revised every time a mobile company comes out with a different size screen (adaptive web).

Is Google once again being the tail that wags the dog?  Perhaps, but more times than not, Google’s directives have actually reenforced their mantra to build a better web.  People are moving towards mobile devices.  Why wouldn’t Google want to give optimal results to companies that are creating websites that will give a more premium viewing experience in a mobile world.


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Tim McLarty - Ontrack Communications Inc.

About the author

Tim McLarty is creative director at Ontrack Communications in Toronto. He’s a podcaster, and his background includes 9 years as professor of media creation at Humber College and 17 years as a broadcaster across Canada.  Ontrack is a media studio creating video, motion graphics, audio and podcast content.  In his spare time he makes short films and travels to any country that will have him.