As of last April, mobile-friendly web sites were given a big leg up on competitors. Known as “responsive” web sites, these sites instantly adapt to whatever device you are viewing them on.
As users were turning to smartphones and other mobile devices to surf the web, Google realized that most sites didn’t display well on mobile devices. Therefore, Google updated the way they list sites, giving mobile-friendly sites a higher ranking.
Google hasn't removed all non-responsive pages from its top smartphone listings. But it’s quickly heading in that direction.
According to Searchmetrics, many rankings have suffered as a result. Non-responsive yet high traffic sites such as SearchBug, Reddit and Webs.com lost visibility, while responsive sites such as Advance Auto Parts and Grist moved up in the ranks, gaining more traffic.
In addition to getting higher search rankings, responsive sites are easier for visitors to use. Happy visitors engage more, increasing the rate at which they turn into customers.
There are three ways to make your web site mobile-friendly:
- Build a separate mobile edition that fits small screens and loads quickly.
- Adapt your current web site design to be more mobile-friendly. In some cases it may be difficult to make such a design responsive on all devices.
- Convert your current web site design into a responsive one. Going this route, you won’t need a separate mobile version, and you avoid potential penalties from Google for having the same content on multiple domains.