With the increase in mobile usage, Google may start to penalise websites that do not deliver a pleasant mobile user experience
A recent article by Search Engine Land indicates that inside information gathered by their experts show a push from Google to consider penalising websites that do not conform to responsive design best practices to provide a pleasurable mobile user experience. One of their news editors, Barry Schwartz, reached out to Google to get some first-hand information about mobile user experience and how web designers and webmasters need to incorporate this into their designs. Google responded saying “We’re making a big push to ensure the search results we deliver reflect this principle.”
Does Google provide mobile user experience knowledge and insights to apply mobile changes?
Google, in their webmaster guidelines, list certain recommendations that they suggest be followed when it comes to web design and the ability for smartphone users to access your website information. Below are some of these recommendations to improve mobile user experience:
- Make sure your URL structures meet certain requirements listed by Google
- Do not put redirects in place for mobile versions of your website as this can reduce load time
- Applying responsive design saves resources for both your users and search engine crawlers
Over and above the recommendations listed above, Google also provides a mobile checklist to improve the mobile user experience of your website on smartphones and tablets.
Further strengthening the idea that mobile user experience will become a contributing SEO ranking factor, Search Engine Land once again reached out to Google and got the following statement: At Google we are aiming to provide a great user experience on any device, we’re making a big push to ensure the search results we deliver reflect this principle. We want users to be able to enjoy the web wherever they are.”
Why do you need responsive design for mobile user experience?
It is important to first know what responsive design is before investing why you need it. Responsive website design is an activity whereby websites are designed in a way that allows them to automatically apply changes to your design, structure and layout. These changes are based on the screen size of the user and render a mobile version of your website that is re-shuffled to improve the mobile user experience of the user.
Why do you need responsive websites and websites that cater to the needs of mobile users? A study conducted by Google shows that 61% percent of mobile users will not return to a website that they had trouble viewing or using. Over and above that, the report shows that 40% of those users will go to competitors to find the information they are after. If your website is not rendering a version of your website that is optimised for mobile users you be sure that you will be losing, traffic, return visitors, referrals and ultimately sales.
It is important to note that Google has not started penalising website that do not have mobile optimisation and have not included in their algorithm as yet. It is, however, very important that mobile optimisation be a top priority for the day when mobile user experience does become a raking factor and also to provide your mobile users with a pleasurable experience.