Google’s Mobile Friendly Site Test
Google recently announced that from April 21st, their ranking system will take into account if your site is mobile-friendly. Of course, this is positive for the way we, as users, use the internet. We search for information on our laptops, tablets and smart phones. Will you pass Google’s Mobile Friendly Site Test?
Whether you use responsive or adaptive design, both will optimise the user experience on the many different devices that we use to view the internet. They do this in different ways:
Responsive web design (RWD) is based on flexible and fluid grids. It might take more code and implementation strategies with the fluid grids, CSS, and flexible foundations. It adjusts to the device it is being viewed on, no matter what size. This allows the website to be consistent in content and design across multiple channels, but can be slower. Magazines and newspaper websites work well for this type of format.
Adaptive web design (AWD) has a streamlined, layered approach, which utilizes scripting to assist with adapting to various devices and screen sizes. The site will adjust itself to a set of pre-determined screen and device sizes. It will read the device it is being viewed upon and will choose the right amount of information to download. It works on the principal that not all the information on the main site will be required. Generally speaking, it takes less time to download – giving the user a better experience as they can access the information they need quicker.
Adaptive design is the Gold Standard when it comes to being mobile friendly as it reduces the load on the mobile device. Responsive sends everything to the mobile device and leaves it to choose what it wants to display. It’s the simplest way of doing it and it’s what we use at Webheads a lot, depending on the client’s website and customer needs.
Any More Hints?
Google has given us a bit of time before this new algorithm is launched but have, as always, been a bit vague on the details. Now, that being said, some hints that were given out by Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes during a Q&A:
Responsive design does not have a ranking benefit
This is great because it means that you can choose whether RWD or AWD will work best for your site, your customers and your budget.
Mobile friendliness is determined at the page level – not sitewide
This is pretty self-explanatory. Don’t just update your landing page to be mobile-friendly, you will need to ensure your whole site, every page, is able to pass the test.
Tablets will not be affected by this update
At the moment there is nothing specific for tablet testing.
Google is currently working on a dedicated mobile index
At the moment, Google are taking into account desktop and mobile websites, but they are working on a completely separate mobile index from desktop index.
Further hints dropped by Illyes include the fact that as soon as Google discovers that a site is mobile-friendly, it will be reflected in the search results. He confirmed that, to the best of his knowledge, there are no further updates on that day. He also all but confirmed that it is best to get your house in order BEFORE the 21st of April. It doesn’t sound like there’s much leeway on this.