Responsive Web Design: Google’s made it essential

25th August 2016

Last years changes to Google’s algorithms means it’s now more important than ever to have a mobile-friendly website, not just for user experience but now for mobile SEO too.

Responsive Web Design: Google’s made it essential

Last year Google updated their search algorithm to change the way sites are ranked on mobile devices. This change means that mobile-friendly websites will have priority when you’re searching on a smartphone or tablet. Due to this change, companies without a responsive website are likely to experience a drop in Google’s search index on mobile. Google have always encouraged responsive web design and this change has simply cemented their position on mobile browsing.

Ensuring your website is mobile-responsive is the only way to benefit from this update and avoid a drop in mobile rankings. As over 50% of Google searches are made on a mobile device, an unresponsive website is likely to lose out on a lot of traffic. Depending on your current ratio of desktop to mobile visitors, this could have a big impact on your traffic and, as a direct result, your revenue. In fact, you may have already seen a trend in this direction if your site is not yet mobile optimised.

What is responsive web design?

Responsive web design makes a site adapt to the screen it’s displayed on. This means it can be successfully viewed on any screen size, including desktops, tablets and smartphones. To see this in action, try resizing your browser while viewing this blog post on a desktop. The site will adapt accordingly, creating collapsible menus to save space below a certain screen size. Often, less content is shown on mobiles to allow for easier reading on a smaller screen.

Another upside to having a responsive website designed, is that it’s more cost effective in the long run. This is because the development of a separate mobile website is no longer needed.

Is your website responsive?

Handily, Google have provided this mobile-friendly test to check if your website is responsive on smaller screens. Simply enter your website’s URL and hit ‘analyse’. An image of how Google sees your website will be displayed, and if it’s not responsive, Google will provide feedback. As you can see below, Google have not only flagged up this website as ‘Not mobile-friendly’, but they’ve also highlighted why. Alternatively, you could test out your site on your own smartphone. This can help you to identify any major problems, such as broken links or unplayable content.

Responsive Web Design: Mobile-friendly test
Another useful Google resource is this list of some mobile SEO common mistakes.  Each of these can negatively affect a website’s mobile ranking, so it’s worth checking out; even if you already have a mobile-ready site.

How to make your website mobile-friendly

If your website isn’t responsive yet, you’ll probably want to rectify this sooner rather than later.  For those wondering, it is possible to retrofit a mobile version into an existing site. However, starting from scratch will give your website a consistent feel across all devices. If you were already considering a redesign, then you may want to opt for a full overhaul.

If you’d like any help with responsive web design, or if you just want some advice, get in touch in the comments or email

Category: Web Design

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