Go Mobile or Become Irrelevant

Go Mobile or Become Irrelevant

Google recently made further announcements regarding mobile ranking algorithm. Mobile friendly sites will be ranked more and more favourably over their non-mobile friendly counterparts. This means we will be having more mobile sites appearing higher up the search results. They already look good, with their special “mobile friendly”.

Webmaster tools users have been sent notifications if their site is not mobile friendly, launched a tool to test mobile friendliness and even added a report on mobile usability. Since the introduction of enhanced campaigns which unified device targeting, Google has been on this road to mobile sites for some time. Bing are also moving towards Unified Device Targeting. So what are your options?

Responsive Site

Advantages

  • Site responds to the size of the device being used and adjusts site accordingly.
  • Adapts to tablets as well as mobiles
  • Takes screen resolution into account as well

Disadvantages

  • Probably the hardest option in terms of coding.
  • If not built correctly can cause the site to become unusable on some devices.
  • Likely the most costly option.

Responsive websites allow you to code the site in such a way that it reads the size and resolution of the screen being used to view it and adjusts accordingly. This means not only does it work with mobile devices but it also adjusts for tablets and adjusts depending upon the screen size, be it 4”, 5”, 6” all the way up to 23” on PC monitors. While this may be the hardest to implement, it is likely the best way to go.

Dedicated Mobile Site

Advantages

  • Simple to implement
  • Allows for bespoke mobile pages
  • Cheaper option

Disadvantages

  • Can look unwieldy on bigger mobile devices and tablets
  • Requires new url structure

While an attractive option (and most likely a cheaper option) mobile specific sites do come with their own issues. The sites may look great on mobiles but you then do not have the option for tablets and additionally your site may not cope with the myriad of different mobile phone screen sizes. On top of this, you will need to create new url’s for mobile pages, requiring url updates for AdWords and the like.

No Mobile Site

Advantages

  • Save money in the short term
  • Mobiles aren’t that important…
  • Are they?

Disadvantages

  • Loose SEO ranking on mobile devices
  • Customers using mobile devices likely to become disillusioned with your site and leave
  • Yes, mobiles are important

I’ve heard some decry the cost of developing mobile sites, but really who are you fooling? On average people are spending more and more time on mobile devices, browsing while planning purchases, searching for ideas and even buying/signing up to new products. Mobile use is on the rise and Google is leading the charge with these updates to its ranking algorithm. Can you ignore it?

Conclusion – Get with the times

There’s no hiding from progress. The world is changing day by day and the sooner you accept that, the sooner you will be able to capitalise on a whole new avenue. Mobile PPC has been around as a strategy for years now and SEO is now having to face the mobile music. Think about how much time you spend with a smart phone or tablet on your person. Now think how often you have your laptop on your person. Think how many people you see sat in a coffee shop on a laptop? Maybe a fair few, but nowhere near as many as have a smart phone or tablet. By not catering for these people, you might be missing out on a big audience. So mobile sites are in my opinion a no brainer.