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Are you ready for Google's ‘Responsive Ranking’?

01 April, 2015 Reading: 3:01 mins

On the 21st April, Google will be changing their Mobile Optimisation Guidelines, adding emphasis on mobile responsiveness as a leading factor in SEO ranking.

Are you ready for Google's ‘Responsive Ranking’?

On the 21st April, Google will be changing their Mobile Optimisation Guidelines, adding emphasis on mobile responsiveness as a leading factor in SEO ranking. This configuration will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact on your search results.

To put it simply, Google is going to give higher and stronger rankings to websites that are responsive and mobile friendly. For example:

You and your competitor both sell the same products/services and currently have similar standing on Google.

Your competitor has already invested in a fully responsive site, and is capturing the huge amount of mobile traffic and commerce that flows through the Internet each day.

You have not yet made this investment which means you will fail Google's Mobile Friendly Test and therefore on the 21st April, Google will give preference ranking to your competitor (at least on mobile search, which averages around 60% of all online searches). Your competitor will now be listed above you in Google, impacting substantially on your SEO and in turn, the amount of business you generate. Ultimately, Google are encouraging a mass move to mobile, that’s if you haven’t already!

So what options do you have?

To pass Google's mobile friendly test, there are two options:

  1. Responsive Website - where the website loads ‘responsively’ on desktop, tablet or mobile. The website adjusts to the visitor's screen size.

  2. Mobile Website - where a separate mobile template loads for mobile only. This is usually applicable to e-commerce stores who are not yet ready to invest in a full revamp of their current desktop site.

So which type of website is best for you?

Here are the highlights for both types of sites:

Mobile Site pros:

  1. Fully customized for mobile users
  2. Easier and cheaper to implement

Mobile Site cons:

  1. Will only work on one mobile screen size (i.e. 320px)
  2. Recurring maintenance
  3. Higher costs for updating the content, as it will have to be done on multiple websites
  4. Will also need to be re-worked to meet future browsers?

Responsive Web Design Pros:

  1. Highly flexible – one site works on all devices and screen sizes
  2. Lower maintenance costs as only one site is maintained
  3. Recommended configuration by Google
  4. Can be a better ROI since most responsive sites won’t need much future maintenance in order to comply with new browsers

Cons of Responsive Web Design:

  1. A more expensive upfront cost

John Dibb, our Head of Digital comments:

"I would always recommend a responsive site over a mobile version. Although it is more expensive in the short term, the long term benefits of having one website that is accessible and optimised for mobile, tablet and desktop devices out ways this ten times over.

As I write this post, the new Google ranking system is less than a month away but there’s no need to panic as it’s not too late. If you would like to get started on a responsive website or are unsure how to make your website mobile-friendly, please send me an email today at give me a call on 01223 911 123.

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