Until recently, we have recommended smartphone-friendly options to view web pages. Gary Illyes from Google says, Google’s increasing preference for mobile ads in their policy (as seen in 2015 and 2016), has formed leniency towards websites with responsive designs. This means that the website is seamlessly able to respond when accessed by different devices such as through mobile and desktop.
Why specifically prefer responsive design?
Because Google’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has shown to prefer responsive design. Their upcoming mobile first index (MFI) shows that between the different alternatives of showing mobile-friendly sites, responsive design is seen as the go-to.
The MFI greatly affects the Google ranking system. In short, pages
responsive design are more likely to show up earlier than other websites.
Read more about the Mobilegeddon update here.
What’s “mobile first index”?
In the past, the majority of search engines would show results for desktop websites.
But mobile browsing is quickly turning mainstream.
As a way to conform to this change, Google is going to make many of their functions mobile friendly. The greatest effect this has is on their search engine. Once MFI is implemented, search results would show results for pages designed for mobile devices.
This is a lot of work on Google, and a great deal to web designers.
As web designers, it is our job to conform to the upcoming effects of the MFI by creating responsive web designs.
What’s responsive web design?
To put it simply, it allows websites to adapt to the device.
Computers, tablets, and smartphones all have a wide variety of aspect ratios and screen size. On a web page with no responsive design, the layout is the same on all devices – think clunky texts, small icons, janky paragraphs, and media.
Responsive design automatically idealizes the best layout for each access seamlessly, with no need to manually pick between mobile/desktop versions.
Why recommend responsive design?
As Google implements MFI, you may think to yourself – why not just make a mobile website?
Mobile versions may be a part of the solution. However, desktop users will not be recommended mobile websites as much as desktop websites. Additionally, by having two web pages, your website(s) may have several issues: omitted information, omitted content, and different (therefore lack of) metadata.
The simplest solution is to create a website that caters to both mobile and desktop users.
Websites with responsive design are better suited to deliver websites on multiple platforms.
This may be a technical challenge for some websites, so smartphone-based websites may still be prevalent.
Nevertheless, the responsive design approach is the best way to not only deliver quality websites, but also ensure that your web pages rank better in search engines.