Be Responsive: How to Optimize for Mobile

Be Responsive: How to Optimize for Mobile

By: Dan Jeffers, Elizabeth Navas - 2017

Whether you maintain your own website or have a web developer who does that for you, one of the key decisions you need to make is how to make your website more friendly to mobile device users. You may run across someone who tells you that SEO for desktops is different than for mobile, but the truth is that since 2015, Google has penalized websites with poor mobile optimization in all results, not just for mobile searchers.

There are three primary methods for mobile optimization, and the choice is important so don’t leave it to your designer. Our recommendation is, almost always, to use responsive design. But all three are recognized by major search engines.

Responsive Design -- This approach uses a website that is built to configure itself differently for each screen type. A responsive website will offer smaller images, stack content in a more accessible way, and the menus will transform into mobile friendly version depending on the device being used.

Dynamic Serving -- Some websites will detect the type of device in use and offer up different content for mobile devices. The same URL is used, but a different html file is fetched based on device type.

Separate URL/Mobile site -- Not too long ago, this was actually a preferred method. Mobile visitors would be redirected to a variant URL. If the main site was www.mainsite.com, the mobile would be m.mainsite.com.

Both dynamic serving and maintaining separate URLs creates problems because there are two different sets of content that need to be maintained. There have also been issues with misidentifying devices and serving the wrong content to users. Finally with the separate URL approach there is a risk of incurring a duplicate content penalty.

Responsive design solves all those problems. However, many website have to be redesigned from scratch in order to be fully responsive. Sometimes this is a more expensive option, at least in the short term.

There are good tools for optimizing websites, this tool will show you how optimized for mobile your website and let you know if there are any issues. This page is Google’s guide to optimizing websites on various platforms, including WordPress.

If you would like to talk to us more about mobile optimization or if you want help with your website, contact us now! If you know someone else who could use a hand please forward this to them or put them in touch with us.