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Responsive Design and Google Mobile Index (Correlations)
The SEO and search industry have turned their attention to mobile with Google revealing that they will be creating a separate index for mobile in the coming months. If you are unaware of what it actually means, let us explain it to you a little better. Google currently has a single index for search containing different indexed documents both in desktop and mobile version. According to the update announced by Google’s webmaster trends analyst, Gary Illyes, on 13 October 2016, the new mobile index will become its primary index.
This means that even though desktop index will be maintained separately, it will not receive as much focus as the mobile index. Google recommends responsive design when optimizing a website for mobile users. Google favors responsive design because it makes their life much easier.
With the older indexing method, they had to perform much more work having to maintain different versions of the same website for optimal user experience.
Importance of Mobile in Today’s World
We are living in a world where mobile devices are being greatly used, much more than our desktops and laptops. More people are accessing Google using their smartphones rather than their desktops. With desktop users becoming a minority, it is becoming important for search engines to cater to this growing market by offering them faster and better optimized pages. People often switch to another website immediately if they find a website is not optimized for their device. Another important thing to notice is that Google owns about 95% of the mobile search engine market which has forced them to opt for mobile index if they want to do much better in mobile search results.
What is Responsive Web Design?
Responsive web design is a website designing method that allows for the website to be optimally viewed regardless of the device and the screen size that the user is accessing it from. It allows for faster reading, navigation and scrolling. It has been seen that websites with responsive design are much easier to manage, are flexible and cost effective. Having a responsive design reduces the need for making desktop and mobile websites separately. Such content is much easier to share.
Correlation between Responsive Design and Google Mobile Index
With Google improving its mobile services to cater to its mobile users, website owners need to adapt fast to make their website mobile-friendly. One of the best ways to do it is through Responsive Webdesign. In Responsive Design, a number of factors like fluid, proportion-based grids, flexible images and CSS style rules help deliver a better overall user experience for different devices. Throughout it, it maintains the HTML and URL structure perfectly allowing the website to grow or shrink depending on the device it is being accessed from. Thus, it can be said that having a responsive design is important for success when it comes to Google ranking.
According to Google, there are a number of benefits to having a responsive design website and these are the top reasons why Google recommends it –
- Having a responsive design allow users to share and link to the content using their URL.
- It also allows Google’s algorithms to assign indexing properties to the pages rather than having to signal the presence of corresponding desktop pages.
- Google saves time as they do not have to maintain multiple pages with the same content.
- Google do not have to redirect the users to a device optimized view reducing the load time for the website. This also helps in reducing errors and enhances user mobile experience.
- It saves resources as Googlebot only needs to crawl your website once than having to crawl multiple times to retrieve different versions of the content. This increases the crawling efficiency and also helps Google index whole of website’s content and keep it fresh.
- It also helps them push for better app development for Google Play and to make money out of other content like TV shows, magazines, books, music that they have been feeling threatened about from competitors such as Amazon, Hulu and Apple App store.
If your website or wordpress theme is already mobile responsive, you will have nothing much to do to rank high assuming your mobile performance and speed is good. But, if your website is created ideally for the desktop audience, you need to resolve this issue as soon as possible.
How to Prepare your Website for the New Mobile Index
With Google trying to improve its mobile services through its New Mobile Index, it is important for website owners to adapt the website and SEO Strategy for a more mobile friendly world. It will force the e-commerce businesses to check exactly what they have been providing to their mobile users and how they can better optimize the experience of their mobile users. There needs to be a complete understanding of the way that the user interacts with your website using their smartphones.
Using a mobile-friendliness tool created by Google, you can get a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ answer to whether or not your website meets Google’s requirement of friendliness. Here, all urls are evaluated individually using this tool thus, there is another easy way of checking your website. You can also check the performance of your website by searching for the website on your phone. This will help you see if all the pages are indexed to the domain and evaluate its mobile friendliness.
If you own a website who have ignored mobile considerations for long, you will no longer be able to do so. You will have to accept that mobile users are your dominant users and will have to make your website as responsive as possible. Once you do that, you will be able to see a shift in your website’s search ranking and traffic.
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