Why a Mobile-Friendly Website is Critical for SEO

If you’ve observed that the amount of traffic on your webpage has decreased over a period of time, you need to find out why. A reason for it could be that your website is not mobile-friendly. Statistics from Outbrain show that web searches are a bigger contributing force to web page traffic than social media, beating it by a whopping 300%. Therefore, in an era that is dominated by increased mobile use and web searches, it’s more important than ever to include features that make the website mobile friendly. Popular search engines like Google and Bing have both updated their algorithms to compensate for the fact that mobile searches exceed desktop searches.

The increased importance of mobile-friendly searches begs the question of what the term even means. A website running on your phone doesn’t qualify as a mobile-friendly webpage – it takes a bit more than that. A website can be deemed mobile-friendly in three ways – by being Responsive, Mobile Optimized, or having a ‘Mobile-Friendly’ layout. Search engines make no distinction in classifying the former two as being mobile-friendly, so what do these terms really mean and how are they different? You need to remember that mobile-friendly sites are determined by examining user-friendly search engine optimization.

Responsive

Being responsive means that the webpages adapt to the medium through which they’re opened. When operating on a mobile phone, they take on a slightly different interface. This means, among other things, that it will merge multiple columns into one. The content and visual look of the website is simplified to make it easier to navigate. In addition, the navigation bar itself is made more compact. These differences usually lend to the website being accessed faster and more efficiently. This is because it reduces the amount of data it has to process and allows it to deal with heavy search traffic.

Mobile Optimized

Mobile optimized websites are completely separate from the desktop version. This means that their creation and operation is completely isolated from each other. Any information or content uploaded on to the website will have to be done twice – once for each version. A link to the desktop version of the website is usually presented at the bottom corner of the mobile version’s page.

Mobile-Friendly

Mobile friendly websites are basically the same as desktop ones; they are created to work on desktops and mobile phones. There may be minor changes that are visible on the mobile version such as simpler visual data and a smaller size, but other than that it is essentially the same. The problem is that this does affect its functionality. A mobile-friendly website like this may be too slow, with a small font size that requires the reader to frequently ‘zoom-in’ and links that are complicated to follow up on.

Conclusively, despite their differences and respective pros and cons, the decision a company has to make still comes down to cost. The various interfaces described above vary in terms of cost. Responsive websites are clearly the most expensive but in the long-run it is also the best one to opt for because it will generate more traffic. Once responsive websites have been designed, they adapt and make changes according to the user’s requirements and are relatively simple to maintain. In this way, you can make up for the initial high investment. Responsive websites ultimately represent adaptability and a positive image for your company in moving forward.

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