On April 21, Google will start rewarding sites that use responsive design with better ranking consideration. In order to take advantage of this update, make sure that your website is meeting the following guidelines:

  • Avoid software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
  • Use text that is readable without zooming
  • Size content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
  • Place links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped

In order to see if your site meets these guidelines, go to Google’s mobile-friendliness tool and see if your site passes. If it does, you’re in good shape. If not, you need to contact your web developer (or us) and make the necessary changes to your site.

With respect to mobile sites, Google lists three separate approaches. These are:

Sites that use responsive web design. These are sites that serve all devices on the same set of URLs, with each URL serving the same HTML to all devices and using CSS to change how the page is rendered on the device. This is Google’s recommended configuration. [emphasis Google’s]

Sites that dynamically serve all devices on the same set of URLs. However, each URL serves different HTML (and CSS) depending on whether the user agent is a desktop or a mobile device.

Sites that have separate mobile and desktop URLs. This is not recommended, as it can be confusing for SEO, and makes it difficult to track results.

Why does Google recommend responsive web design? It saves resources both for Google and for your site. For responsive web design pages, any Googlebot user agents need to crawl your pages once (as opposed to crawling multiple times with different user agents) in order to retrieve your content. This improvement in crawling efficiency can indirectly help Google index more of the site’s contents and keep it appropriately fresh.

Granted, there are other approaches to mobile-friendly websites. However, responsive web design is, in the majority of scenarios, the best one. You have one codebase, and it ensures users on all screen sizes are getting the best experience. Even with a site where users perform different actions based on their context (and therefore, with different screen sizes), like e-commerce, responsive web design is often the best solution.

Wondering if we can help you build a responsive website? We can! Just contact us to get started!

GTECH Designs is a Baltimore-based web marketing firm that is committed to helping impact-makers spend more time doing good. For more information, contact us at 410-775-4011, email us at [email protected], or visit our website at www.gtechdesigns.com.


About The Author

Bola Olonisakin

Bola Olonisakin

Bola is the founder and principal at GTECH Designs, a digital creative agency that helps small and mid-sized businesses launch, grow and succeed. Her research and work in web design, social media and strategic communication have been published in numerous books and articles, and she’s regularly seen on stage at events around the country. She’s responsible for teaching GTECH clients how to blend strategic goal-setting with great design to create effective online marketing strategies. You can reach her at [email protected]