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Why a Mobile-Friendly Website is Critical for SEO

SEO, Digital Marketing

Have you noticed a drop in your search traffic over the past few months? It could be your website isn’t mobile friendly. Search traffic is important, so when creating or editing your website, you need to have a mobile strategy. 

Google and Bing have both announced that they have changed their Search Ranking Algorithm by boosting the rankings of mobile friendly websites. These changes have taken place because both search engines report having more mobile searches than desktop searches.

So what does mobile friendly mean? Just because you website displays on the cell phone doesn’t mean its mobile friendly. There are three terms you need to be familiar with: Responsive, mobile friendly and mobile optimized.

Responsive Websites

These are typically favored because they respond based on the device where they are being viewed. These types of websites are best for sites with a lot of mobile traffic and a lot of content. Changes that are common when these sites are viewed on mobile devices include:

  • Multiple columns will become one column
  • Content and images may be removed to simplify the appearance
  • The navigation menu will be condensed.

Mobile-Friendly Websites

These websites remain the same no matter where they are being viewed because they are designed to work on both. When the website is viewed on a mobile device, it is just a smaller version than that that would appear when viewing from a desktop. This is frequently used for websites with simple designs. Although this is a functional option for websites, it does have its flaws since it is viewed the same on all devices:

  • Font size can be too small
  • Links can be difficult to follow
  • Images appear too small
  • The desktop version may not be as complex as desired

Mobile Optimized Websites

This option is an entirely separate mobile website from the desktop website.  You would need to update and maintain the two websites individually; for example, if you wanted to post an update about your company on both websites, you would have to do it twice. These websites are typically a subset of the desktop version, with a link to it at the bottom of the mobile version.

Final Facts

One of the biggest questions that many companies will have is of course cost. Responsive websites cost the most, then mobile friendly and a mobile optimized website the least.

In our opinion, responsive websites are the best option because you will be able to save money in the long run. This is possible because once they are built, they are easy to maintain and are able to adjust themselves to any resolution accommodating desktop, mobile and tablets. This is a good option because by having a website that is easily seen no matter what device the viewer is on, you are putting your best foot forward.

Ben Bassi

Ben Bassi is the Founder and CEO of CommonPlaces, a custom web development and digital marketing agency in Manchester, NH. With over 30 years of technology industry leadership and strategic planning experience, Ben has led two companies to Inc. 500 status.

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