A little history

Google is doing that thing again where it runs the digital world, and everyone has to do what it says. Remember when having a separate mobile site was deemed a crazy idea? Well, we’re back at it!

Back in 2010, responsive web design was the hot topic. A genius way to make your website automatically adjust to fit the size of the screen it was appearing on, whether that be desktop, tablet or mobile. Seemed like a pretty solid solution to web design, right? Well, Google has changed its mind.

In April 2015, Google announced that searches on a mobile device had finally surpassed desktop searches. Because of this, they announced “Mobilegeddon,” a new mobile-friendly ranking algorithm that rewarded mobile-friendly sites with higher search rankings on mobile devices. This was the beginning of Google starting to reward websites for being more mobile-friendly since that’s what the searchers were demanding. Now, Google is taking it one step further.

 

What About Responsive?

While Google still likes responsive websites, they have some downfalls. Responsive websites use images and elements that need to look good on big screens like desktop monitors and TVs, and on screens as small as a cellphone, nearly six times smaller. Bigger images equal larger file sizes and longer load times…on mobile that’s a big issue. So having a large image designed for a desktop monitor trying to load on a small cellphone screen makes little sense.

Aren’t “Mobile” Sites so 2008?

You might be thinking, “I remember mobile sites back a decade ago, this isn’t new.” Yes, we all remember the old mobile sites, the ones that you’d HAVE to select Go to Full Site to get that information you needed. This is NOT what mobile first is. Mobile first sites are tailored to the screen, meaning that you get the full site. They load much faster, convert better, and implement actions people are using on their cellphone — like using their phone to call you with one click! The focus of mobile first is to put the actions that users are wanting at their fingertips.

Often with home improvement companies, mobile first designs will have a call now button, free estimate button, menu button, and the 3-4 primary service ‘above-the-fold’. Essential actions are right there, this goes for any industry and site.

 

Introducing Mobile-first Indexing

In late 2016, Google announced their new Mobile-first approach for indexing websites. This is their new algorithm that will reward mobile-friendly sites with higher search rankings. Currently, Google’s ranking system still prioritizes the desktop version of a website’s content to determine its relevance to the user. Moving forward, Google will now switch its algorithm to look at the mobile version of all websites first.

Simply put: When Google determines which searches appear toward the top of the results, they’ll be looking at your site’s mobile-friendliness. So get ready.

 

Why Invest in a Mobile First Site

Google is going in that direction, users are already there and nearly 60% of searches are being performed right from their phones. Giving users a quicker and more mobile-friendly site will help convert them. The more your user does on your site, the bigger impact your site will have on Google. This isn’t just some trend; we know cell phones are not going away anytime soon. If you are planning on redoing your website, think about the added benefits of mobile first.