Mobile-friendly vs Responsive websites

DeathtoStock_Medium6Here at MDPM Consulting, we knew that the move to mobile was coming. After all, we announced it here, here, here, and here. Here’s Google’s official statement from February 26:

“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.”

This means that if your website isn’t responsive/mobile-friendly, it’s very likely that your rankings will take a hit once this algorithm update launches.

As your SEO and online marketing firm, that’s something we want to help you avoid, but we have to act fast.

We have a few options when it comes to updating your website to a mobile-friendly format. At the very least, we strongly recommend what we call a responsive rebuild. During a rebuild, your website’s design, content, and frontend remain the same, but the backend gets a total makeover, ensuring responsiveness on mobile devices (smartphones and tablets). Once your website is mobile-friendly, your site will get tagged with Google’s mobile-friendly indicator in mobile search results. As a result, you’ll be protected and prepared when April 21 rolls around.

You can choose to redesign and/or rewrite your website with a responsive rebuild, but the rebuild portion is the time pressing matter.

But, the question remains: what is a responsive/mobile-friendly website?

The answer: two different things.

What is a mobile-friendly website?

“A mobilefriendly website is one that displays correctly on hand-held devices such as smartphones, iPhones, iPads, and tablets. It also has these features: Loads fast – bloated sites cost more money to access. Easy to read – mobile phone screens are 1/5th the size of desktop computers.”

What is a responsive website?

Responsive web design (RWD) is an approach to web design aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones).”

How do they fit together?

A mobile-friendly website is, in most cases, a secondary website that is built for mobile purposes. This website is the same as your primary website, but is optimized to display properly on tablets and mobile devices. Typically, mobile sites are created from primary sites, with the webmaster choosing which content/pages/elements to recreate in a mobile-friendly format. Because of this, mobile sites and their primary sites sit on separate domain names and — for all intents and purposes — are two separate websites, which can lead to confusion for users.

Once the two websites are created, specific SEO techniques and safeguards must be put in place to ensure that Google does not penalize the sites for sharing (duplicate) content.

Although creating a mobile-friendly version of your website is a valid option, there is a lot of room for error when it’s not done, built, and managed properly.

So, here at MDPM Consulting, we take things one step further. We don’t create a mobile-friendly site from your primary website. Instead, we make your primary website fully responsive so that it looks great and functions properly on both desktops and mobile devices/tablets. Everything about your website is there — all of your content, all of your pages, all of the things you love about your current site. Why? Because it is your website. There’s only one, and it’s all full responsive.

April 21 is just days away, but it’s not too late to take the steps needed to ensure your website is up to Google’s new standards. Give us a call at (972) 781-8861 or send us an email at [email protected].