Thinking about a specific strategy for your mobile website has become important in India. If you want to use search engine optimization services optimally, it is only appropriate that you think about how your site will be delivered on a mobile phone or a tablet. As of June 2016, it was estimated that India had about 371 million mobile internet users, with an expected 65million more to be added in the next 6 months.
Internet penetration in India has seen an exponential growth due to the introduction and easy availability of low cost smart phone options. Today we see housewives, retail vendors, household workers and a whole host of blue collared people accessing the internet for mobile payments, banking and social networking too; something that was almost unthinkable in the age of PC’s and cyber cafés.
Options for Mobile Friendly Websites
There are essentially three kinds of configurations that you can choose when it comes to mobile-friendly designs – Responsive, Adaptive and Traditional ‘m.’ sites.
Responsive Web Design (also called RWD) is a fluid approach that uses proportion based grids and allows for flexible images and CSS styles. This option provides a different user experience based on the device from which the website is being accessed using the same HTML and URL structure.
Adaptive design adapts the HTML after detecting the device from where the website is being accessed while keeping the URL structure the same.
A separate mobile site, as in the case of the traditional ‘.m’ mobile site, delivers a different HTML and URL structure and is therefore almost a different site altogether.
Does Google’s Ranking Algorithm Include RWD as a Factor?
While Google has made it evident that they prefer RWD as a configuration, there is a debate among search engine optimization companies whether this is indeed a factor in the ranking algorithm or not. Surveys have been conducted where a majority of SEO professionals feel that RWD definitely plays a positive role in overall ranking. Other studies have shown that converting a site from adaptive to RWD configuration increases search ranking results and therefore traffic too. Neither of these studies prove unequivocally that the RWD configuration is part of the Google search algorithm.
So, Why Should You Adopt Responsive Web Design?
Despite no confirmation from any of the Google’s sources about RWD being part of the ranking algorithm, every search engine optimization company should tell you to adopt this design. This is mainly because there are various indirect ways in which RWD aids in better SEO rankings.
Google Prefers it:
First and foremost, RWD is the preferred option for Google. They like it because it uses less of their resources. Google bots can crawl through these sites with far more ease due to the unified code base and therefore the process of indexing becomes faster. This increases the chances of a better page ranking.
Google has historically been extremely particular about user experience and has placed this one factor at the helm of all their changes. The ultimate goal of the company has always been to provide a better and more convenient experience to the end consumer. RWD provides a far superior experience to the user as compared to the other options. The content on a RWD site remains the same, irrespective of the device it is accessed from. Today when users access the internet from the laptops, mobile phones, and tablets, this is a complete necessity.
When not using RWD, mobile versions of sites often use different content on mobile sites and websites. The mobile site is likely to have a summarized version of what is present in detail on the website. This often leads to a higher bounce rate which is interpreted by the Google bots as non-relevant or undesired content, leading to a lowering of page rank. RWD makes sure that the content served to the user is always the same, irrespective of where the site is being accessed from.
Page Load Time:
With a large proportion of mobile sites still using the traditional configuration, the average time to load a mobile site is about 7 seconds. Google has mentioned that they prefer a load time of 1 second. A responsive web design site allows for faster load times on a mobile device since there is no redirection required to reach another URL.
Google may not have stated that RWD is part of their search ranking algorithm but they have made it extremely clear that their focus is on mobile searches for the future with their ‘Mobilegeddon’ update. Since mobile searches are trending upwards, Google has made sure that everyone stands up and takes notice of the changes happening in the market and change accordingly. Staying in the old, traditional ‘.m’ mobile site is no longer an option if you want to compete in this ever-changing internet arena.