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Time’s Up for Mobile Optimization

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One of the biggest stories in web design for Columbia, SC businesses over the past three years or so has been the shift to mobile. There are many different components to this shift, all of which have a huge effect on the way businesses market themselves online. For one thing, the simple fact that the potential customer visiting your website could be on foot a block away from your location, rather than sitting at home on his personal computer, impacts the way you might communicate with that customer via your website. The mobile shift also created a rush of companies renovating their websites to make them look and function better on small screens, rather than allowing their computer-optimized websites to appear cramped and difficult to navigate on a smartphone.

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But one of the most surprising effects of the mobile shift, for many people, was the way Google made mobile optimization an important page ranking factor. That is, Google publicly stated that it would begin evaluating a website’s performance on mobile devices and use that evaluation as a factor when ranking the website among its competitors in search results—even if the search was conducted on a computer, not a mobile device.

Slow and Steady

Google was well aware that its decision to promote and penalize websites in the rankings based on their mobile performance would shake the world of Internet marketing. To encourage the smoothest possible transition to the new ranking system, Google took a very slow and steady approach to implementing the change. Over the course of several years, Google has been making adjustments here and there, in different areas, attempting to nudge the industry closer to the universal mobile-optimized Internet that it desires, rather than dropping the hammer all at once and letting professionals in web design in Columbia, SC pick up the pieces…or abandon Google in favor of a more reasonable search engine.

Now is the time to ensure that your website looks good on mobile!

Time’s Up

Now, it seems Google is satisfied that its slow and steady approach has given businesses all the time they needed to remodel their websites and accommodate the specific needs of mobile device users. Earlier this month, lots of people in web design in Columbia, SC noticed a sudden change in rankings for the websites of small local businesses—some of the last websites to be hit by Google’s mobile optimization ranking rewards and penalties. Understanding that these small businesses would have the hardest time rebuilding their sites and meeting Google’s new standards, the search engine gave them the longest grace period. That period, however, appears to be over now, as the mobile optimization looks to be completely or nearly completely in place across all industries.

What’s the Bottom Line?

If you own a small business and have been trying to avoid optimizing your website for mobile devices, you have a choice to make at this point. With the complete implementation of Google’s mobile penalties, websites that look bad and don’t work well on smartphone screens are destined to drop to the later pages of keyword search results, which translates into disappearing website traffic. No one wants that!

One strategy that website owners have employed to get around the mobile penalty is to build a second website specifically for mobile devices, usually much simpler than the primary computer-optimized site. When the server detects that a visitor to the site is using a mobile device, it redirects the user to the special mobile site. Unfortunately, it appears that that tactic will no longer preserve rankings under Google’s system—it specifically wants to see a single website presenting the same information to both mobile and desktop users. There is a caveat, however: your provider of web design in Columbia, SC can create a different version of your website, with the same URL, for mobile devices.

Navigating the new landscape on Google is bound to create headaches for some folks, but mobile device users will certainly be happier to find an Internet populated by websites that they can easily browse on their phones. If you need help optimizing your website for mobile devices, or if you’re looking into creating your business’s first website, get in touch with us. The PalmettoSoft team is ready to help!

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