posted by Search
As a good and loyal follower of the thunder::tech Twitter account, you have undoubtedly seen that Google has finally weighed in on the concept of mobile search engine optimization (SEO) and what they prefer. For those of you who may not have seen it, allow us to paraphrase.
In the world of SEO, the concept of mobile has always been tricky. Yes, you want a mobile site, but what’s the best way to do it? Google has finally come out and stated that they prefer that websites use responsive design when looking at mobile.
But the real question you may be asking yourself is, “Why do they prefer responsive design?” Well the answer is simple.
Responsive Design Means One Website
It’s important to remember that time is a valuable thing. Multiple iterations of a website means that a search engine must spend more time crawling each one looking for any changes or differences. One website means that it gets to save time crawling. You make its job easier and it will make your life better.
It’s the search engine’s responsibility to provide users with the best experience possible. A site built using responsive design will deliver all of the site’s content (rather than a shortened version). Giving the mobile user access to the entire site lets them get the information they’re looking for, whether they are in their office using their PC, browsing on their mobile phone at a coffee shop or reading on their tablet in bed.
Responsive Design Means Better Experience
If you have to design for every single screen size or if you pick a few and design for them, then you are essentially saying “there may be a size we miss and don’t plan for, but we’re OK with not delivering a proper experience across all platforms.”
Let’s face facts: the digital world changes at an alarming rate. Screen sizes, mediums, platforms, opportunities and items being rendered obsolete happen all the time. Remember Palm Pilots? The life span of a gadget in the digital age is miniscule. Using responsive design and progressive enhancement means that no matter what comes you way, you’re capable of handling it easily and efficiently without any fuss or added design and development time. You’re ready to face the future head-on.
This means that when a search engine crawls your website looking for various cues and trying to see what you’re capable of, you will have already done it. You will be ready for them. You will be able to stand and proudly say, “We got this. We’re ready.” This added step of preparedness will bode well for you. It will show that you’re not taking a back seat and letting the world around you happen. You’re pushing yourself to meet your users wherever and however they choose to find you. This “user care” translates into higher rankings for you and a better experience for them.
Responsive Design Means Mobile First
The first step in building any mobile website is to ask the questions, “Why are our users coming here? What are they looking for? What do we HAVE to display prominently to ensure they easily find their way?” Far too often we overlook this step when dealing with a desktop site. It becomes “What do we want to show the user?” and not “What do they want to see?” We fail to properly address their needs until we get to the mobile phase.
When we push forward with responsive design, we focus on the simple fact that what we display in mobile, we also have to display in desktop. For this reason, every step of the website is created with mobile in mind. This means every step of the process is created with the mindset that a user has to quickly and efficiently find what they need.
You put the users’ needs ahead of your own wants. This means that you’re actually providing them
with what they
want and not with what you think they should know. You’re giving them the information they need. This ensures they’ll have a better experience and they are going use your site properly. They will share your website with their networks if it’s useful to them. They will change from being visitors into qualified leads/sales/conversions, which is precisely what you want them to do.
The Takeaway: Responsive is good for you…
…because responsive is good for your users. Google wants you to provide value to them, not peddle your wares. Google wants you to place the USER as your top priority and not your sales pitch. Google wants you to meet any user, any place, any time, in any medium, on any screen.
Essentially, Google wants you to be in it for the user and not for yourself. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
About the authors::
Joshua Mathe leads thunder::tech’s Search team and his infatuation with SEO
began six years ago. He is a lifelong Clevelander with a love of all things #CLE
. In the rare moments that he's not online, he’s spending time playing with his dogs, cooking, cheering for Cleveland sports and practicing kendo.
Justin Smith is a Web
developer at thunder::tech. He is also a founding member of the t::t bike club and the proud parent of a basset hound.
TAGS: thundertech, SEO, search, Development, web, design, responsive, responsive design, Google, mobile, website, marketing
Jon Burger said:
| I'm always for putting the user first in any design discussion - meeting their wants and needs first and foremost - but what about bring new and untapped features and functionality to the table for the users? If all design focused around meeting user needs and wants, things would simply be better, faster, stronger, cheaper. That's great, but there has to be room and thought for transformative ideas that the user may not have been aware of. Will Google accommodate new ideas and reader flows on websites? According to the above, they won't until it becomes SOP...
|June 14, 2012 aP 6:22 PM
Joshua M Mathe said:
You raise a valid point. However perhaps I did not make myself entirely clear. You are 100% right. You have to push the envelope and deliver new and innovative ideas. However you can not put these before your users' needs. Once you address the core concerns or the people you are trying to reach then by all means, innovate away.
It's like trying to sell shoes.
Man: I need a simple running shoe to fit my supinator running style.
Salesman: This shoe is innovative. It has lights, GPS, tweets your every step, monitors your hydration levels, syncs to your iPod and picks songs based on your speed and tempo.
While those things are great, ultimately what the man wants is a shoe, plain and simple. You can throw all the bells and whistles at him but all of those are irrelevant unless you properly address HIS core needs. If you don't someone else will.
|June 14, 2012 aP 6:51 PM