“This is why you should start offering mobile responsive web design services right this very minute”.
Here at Endlessrise, we have always stressed the importance of having a mobile responsive website due to the growth of mobile users as also mentioned in this post: Ecommerce Growth in 2012 and What this Means to Online Marketing and Web Design Agencies in 2013. Google has always recommended “mobile responsive web design” as the best option for mobile builds. However, it’s only recently that the search engine giant mentioned directly that “ranking changes” will be rolled out soon for sites that are not properly configured for mobile users.
With this shift in platform well under way, you will be challenged to stay ahead of your target market’s usage curve and provide optimal presence with the content they want, when and where they want it. It is imperative to maintain your audience, market and revenue share in the ‘traditional’ PC platform while capturing market share and monetizing emerging platforms. Doing so will require businesses to get even smarter to do online marketing seamlessly across all platforms: PCs, smart phones and tablets.
By 2014, mobile Internet users will outnumber desktop computer Internet users.
Google’s words have prompted SEO authority site Search Engine Land to update its famous The Periodic Table of SEO Success factors, adding “Mobile” as the newest element. The addition of mobile as an element comes just a few weeks after the last update, further stressing the importance and urgency of mobile in search engine optimization.
Understanding the New Element “Am”
The table was first launched as “The Periodic Table of SEO Ranking Factors” two years ago. As the name original name implies, it was meant to help publishers focus on what really matters to improve their rankings and search engine visibility. It was later renamed to The Periodic Table of SEO Success. The latest version has 33 elements classified under seven “fundamentals” of SEO. The four off-the-page fundamentals are Links, Trust, Social, and Personal. The on-the-page fundamentals are Content, HTML, and Architecture, where mobile falls under (thus the element sign “Am” or Architecture – Mobile).
New Kid on the Block: “Am” was added to the table following Google’s announcement that bad mobile sites will affect search rankings. Source: Search Engine Land
The most important elements get a +3 grade while the worst practices you can do for your SEO are marked with -3. For instance, Cq or Content – Quality is a +3. On the other hand, Vc or Violations – Cloaking is a -3. Right now, Am or Mobile is assigned a +1. These grades may change over time.
“It was the first time Google had been this explicit on the topic. It was also the tipping point we needed to add the element to the chart, which we’ve done now,” said Search Engine Land founding editor Danny Sullivan.
The 2 Most Common Mobile Web Mistakes
In an official blog post, Google software engineer Yoshikiyo Kato and webmaster trends analyst Pierre Far wrote that “changes in rankings of smartphone search results” are meant to improve user experience for the mobile web. “To improve the search experience for smartphone users and address their pain points, we plan to roll out several ranking changes in the near future that address sites that are misconfigured for smartphone users,” the post said.
Along with the announcement, Google also listed some common configuration mistakes, as well as recommendations for better mobile search rankings. Of the bunch, the most common mistakes are faulty redirects and smartphone-only errors.
Faulty redirects occur when websites redirect a smartphone user to an irrelevant page in the mobile-optimized site. This can happen when a website uses separate URLs to serve desktop and smartphone users, and when it does, it can lead to frustration on the part of the user. If fortunately the user does not abandon the mobile site after landing on the irrelevant page, the faulty redirect will cause extra clicks and frustration.
See Google’s example below:
Faulty redirects: Three different URLs all landing on the mobile-optimized home page instead of their equivalent mobile pages. Source: Google
As for smartphone-only errors, these can happen in a number of scenarios. One scenario is when, upon detection, a smartphone user is served a 404 page instead of being redirected to the smartphone-friendly page. Another scenario: the mobile user is served an error page when the content is not available in a smartphone-friendly format. Google says it’s better to display the desktop content because that would be a better experience for the mobile user instead of staring at an error page.
“Avoiding these mistakes helps your smartphone users engage with your site fully and helps searchers find what they’re looking for faster.”
Google Recommends Going Mobile Responsive
The search engine has a number of recommendations when building mobile-optimized websites but they all boil down to these two:
1. Google recommends webmasters follow the industry best practice of using responsive web design, namely serving the same HTML for all devices and using only CSS media queries to decide the rendering on each device.
2. If responsive design is not the best option to serve your users, Google supports having your content being served using different HTML. The different HTML can be on the same URL or on different URLs, and Googlebot can handle both setups appropriately if you follow our recommendations.
A mobile responsive web design properly loads on all platforms, whether desktop, smartphone, or tablet. For your clients, this means a lower bounce rate. For their customers, it means a better user experience. For you as a white label SEO reseller, it’s an opportunity to offer web design services to clients.
Is There a Market for Mobile Responsive Design?
Mobile marketing agency Pure Oxygen Labs recently analyzed the websites of the top 100 Fortune 500 companies. Its mobile SEO risk assessment discovered that only 6% of these companies’ websites adhere to Google’s mobile requirements!
If these major corporations are not yet mobile ready, you could just imagine the state smaller companies are in. And with Google’s official announcement of several ranking changes to address sites misconfigured for smartphone users, you can expect companies to be looking for mobile responsive design services right now. By the way, the changes will be rolled out “in the near future” according to Google, so this adds extra pressure on business owners. Businesses, big and small, need mobile responsive web design services. This is a service you should definitely offer today as a white label SEO reseller.
“You really need to be thinking about mobile. We’re starting to think a lot about mobile,” said Google search spam chief Matt Cutts at a recent online marketing event.
Still not offering mobile responsive web design to your clients? Check out our white label outsourcing services section now to learn more about Mobile Responsive Web Design Services and how you can get started. If you haven’t yet, sign up now as an Endlessrise client/reseller and cash in on this opportunity.
True to our commitment, we even help our existing clients/resellers to maximize every opportunity to close a contract–this Friday, July 12th, at 2AM EDT, we are running a webinar on Web Design Sales Coaching Webinar. Sign up with us 36 hours before this event, and you will increase the chances of getting access to this webinar.