Beginning April 21, Google is activating a new algorithm that will negatively affect the search ranking of websites that are not mobile-friendly. For me, that means any sites designed before there was such a thing as mobile responsiveness will have to be redesigned.
Google has an explanation of what Responsive Web Design is, but because it’s written for developers, it’s easy to zone out trying to comprehend what Google is trying to say.
Simply put, websites now need to be user-friendly on all screen sizes and mobile devices, including smartphones.
- Website elements must fill the screen without horizontal scrolling
- Text must be readable without requiring you to zoom in
- There must be adequate space around buttons and links for easy navigation
Any kind of online update is usually a drag. This one puts pressure on me to update client websites that are not necessarily broken, and it’s a pain for clients who don’t want to take on the expense of a site redesign.
Don’t get me wrong. Websites should be redesigned every 2-3 years, and redesigning an older site to make it mobile responsive is the way to go. Now, more than ever, people are using laptops, tablets, and smartphones to surf the Internet. You want them to be able to visit your website without any issues.
But don’t panic. Just because Google is making this change, it doesn’t mean that they or other search engines won’t pick up your website. They will. And it doesn’t mean your site won’t appear on smartphones. It will. It just means your site won’t look as good on smaller devices and you might find yourself lower in the search rankings than you are now.
No pressure. No pain. Redesign when you’re ready. I just want you to know what’s happening, so that you don’t read it elsewhere and wonder why I didn’t say anything.