You know that Google is constantly updating the algorithm used to rank websites, but do you know why? First, to optimize the user experience delivering sites that accurately match their search query and needs. Second, Google seeks to thwart attempts by companies and individuals to “beat the system” and gain an unfair advantage in the rankings.
While their updates frequently go unannounced, Google actually provided advanced notice of a change it made back in April. As we’ve discussed before, that algorithm modification gives a ranking boost to sites that feature responsive design. Consequently, sites that do not exhibit that characteristic find themselves steadily losing ground. So let’s revisit the idea of Responsive Design.
What is a Responsive Design?
“Responsive design” means that a website automatically responds to the dimensions of the browser or the device on which it is being viewed (desktop, laptop, tablet, smart phone) in a way that provides optimal usability and a positive visitor experience. For example, a site that has a menu system displayed on a laptop as a horizontal bar at the top of the window, might show the same menu items stacked on top of one another on a cell phone due to the space constraints.
As the percentage of web traffic from mobile devices continues to climb, responsive design becomes increasingly important. Is your website responsive? You can check by going to your site from your desktop or laptop and then making the browser window narrower by slowing moving the right edge toward the left. If the items on your site (menus, images, blocks of text, etc.) respond gracefully by moving/stacking, your site exhibits responsive design. If instead you get a horizontal scrollbar and/or the site content gets unpleasantly mangled, you’ve got some work to do.
Help! My Site is Unresponsive!
You’ve checked and discovered that your site fails the responsive design test – now what?
1. Don’t panic. People can still access your site, even if Google has lowered your ranking. Web searchers just may not find you as readily.
2. Do your research. If you are using a templated site through a hosting service, you may simply be able to change to a responsive template. If not, you might need help. A qualified design agency or marketing firm that not only understands responsive but the sense of urgency will get you back on track.
3. Do it right. While this website redesign qualifies as important, you definitely do not want to act hastily. Having a responsive but poorly conceived website is worse than having a website that isn’t responsive. You never want to irritate or disappoint someone who has found their way to your site.
So don’t get lost in the Google shuffle, contact Arch Creative Group today.