In this post we’re going to talk about mobile first indexing and website layout design – two of the six key elements to consider when planning a new website, or refreshing an existing website. In the next post we’ll cover Content, and in the final post of this series we’ll look at Your Vision, Differentiation and How to Stand Out from the Crowd.
MOBILE FIRST INDEXING
What is mobile first indexing?
Indexing is the process of adding web pages into Google search. At the end of May, Google announced that they will begin to index brand new web sites, (ones that haven’t already been discovered by Google) using mobile-first indexing by default – starting on July 1st, 2019
“To recap, our crawling, indexing and ranking systems have typically used the desktop version of a page’s content, which may cause issues for mobile searchers when that version is vastly different from the mobile version. Mobile-first indexing means that we’ll use the mobile version of the page for indexing and ranking, to better help our – primarily mobile – users find what they’re looking for.” – (source – Webmaster Central Blog)
This means that Google will look at the mobile version of your website first to decide what it places in the index, whereas historically it had looked to the desktop version.
Why is this change happening?
This change is happening because more and more searches are coming from mobile devices – over half of the web traffic worldwide came from mobile devices in the first quarter of 2019. (source – statistica.com)
So Google decided it’s time to prioritize mobile results. This doesn’t mean Google is going mobile-only or creating a separate index for mobile and desktop results. It just means mobile pages will be crawled first and Google will fall back to desktop if no mobile version is found.
How will I know if my website’s been indexed?
If Google indexes the mobile version of your site, you’ll get a notice in your Google Search Console. This means that Google will determine by the content available on your mobile site how you will rank — both on the desktop as well as on mobile.
Why does this matter to me?
If you want your website to be indexed by Google, it matters. If you currently have different websites for mobile and desktop, and your mobile website is the poor relation, or you don’t have a mobile website and your desktop site isn’t mobile friendly, it’s seriously time to consider moving to another option.
WEB DESIGN LAYOUTS
Let’s keep it simple. In our experience the go-to design layout in July 2019, and for the foreseeable future, is Responsive.
Responsive is our layout de jour not just because of its suitability for mobile first indexing (although that’s a bonus), but because responsive sites can be easily viewed, read and navigated through on a range of different sized devices. This means the user doesn’t have to resize or scroll through the webpage to read the website’s content (not that many would persist in this, they’d just click out and find another site that works for them). Responsive websites display the same content on mobile and desktop devices, and ‘respond’ accordingly in the manner they display the content.
This applies to the images and videos on the website too. If the internet connection being used by the device is slow, the website will respond by displaying a lower resolution version which will download much more quickly than a high-resolution version. This stops the viewer being subjected to the dreaded ‘buffering’ screen and maybe hoping to another site.
I haven’t got a responsive website, what have I got?
If you haven’t got a responsive website yet, the chances are you have either a Static/Fixed design or a Fluid/Liquid design
Static or Fixed Design
Static or fixed design websites that have a set width that can’t change. On smaller devices, this can make a page ‘unusable’. Content will be too small to read, pages won’t fit the screen and images and videos can do all sorts of strange things. These sites do not provide an engaging user experience on mobile devices and can do harm to your business and brand.
Fluid or Liquid design
The content of a fluid or liquid design website spreads itself out to fill the width of the browser. This isn’t a bad idea, but the content can expand to beyond its normal size, or shrink to unreadable. Again, a difficult mobile experience for the user can do damage to your business or brand.
What can I do with my none responsive website?
If you have a website built to one of these layouts, fear not! Everything is fixable. Well, maybe not everything. But over the 14 years we’ve been trading we’ve saved, reinvented or down right rebuilt so many different and unique websites that we’re pretty confident when we say ‘Can fix it? Yes, we can!’ So, if you’re looking for a trustworthy Website Agency based in Hampshire who can help with all your website requirements – get in touch with the friendly team here at Design Image.