With the coming of the mobile revolution being heralded for years, it seems we’re finally here (even though it came in with a whimper, more than a bang). With that said, it’s now critical that every marketer that wants to stay competitive be not only findable, but viewable on mobile devices. Mobile devices make up a greater portion of all searches each and every year, and we’re finally starting to see some viable means in terms of mobile purchasing to warrant the push to either responsive websites, native apps or both.
But what’s the difference?
What is a Responsive Website?
A responsive website (or more accurately, responsive web design) simply means that the site is coded and designed in such a way that the content will adjust to fit on whatever size screen it is being viewed on. So if you’re looking at a site on your 27-inch desktop monitor, it will look great, but if you visit the site on your 3-inch mobile device, it will also display correctly.
Responsive websites eliminate the need to have a dedicated site built for mobile (in addition to your standard website). The coding in the site responds to the device it is being viewed from and tells the browser exactly how the content should be displayed so there are no errors and functionality is preserved. If your audience connects to your site via a number of devices (e.g. computer desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone, mobile phone, etc.), a responsive website is a critical investment.
Benefits of responsive web design include:
– Your site is indexed as mobile-friendly by search engines, while still maintaining all of its normal indexing
– All of your updates to your website can be done in one place and show up on any viewing device
– Your site becomes flexible, able to reach all viewers no matter the device they are using
– All of your updates are seen by anyone who views the page and are not limited or restricted by device
What is a Mobile App – or Native Mobile App?
Mobile app and native mobile app are two terms used interchangeably for the same thing. A mobile app is an application designed specifically for use on mobile devices. It is an entirely separate program from your website and instead of being stored on servers, it is downloaded by the user and stored on their smartphone.
What this does is it allows users to connect even when they don’t have internet access. This is due to the fact that the app is stored locally (though some mobile apps will require internet). That means native mobile apps grant faster access for users than mobile (or responsive) websites do.
In addition, mobile apps have permissions that can help your sales such as access to the phone’s camera or speaker. This makes it easier for customers to interact with you. The downside here is that native mobile apps require different operating systems for Android and iOS phones, so it does cost some money to develop them…twice.
There are also a few more downsides and upsides to mobile apps:
– While faster than websites on mobile devices, mobile apps have fixed layouts meaning you must design one for each operating system
– Your audience for mobile apps is limited to people who have smartphones
– Search engines don’t index mobile apps because they aren’t stored on the internet, but rather on the user’s phone
– Updates can be tricky because the user must download them for updates to appear. Not everyone does this, so your newer content might not gain as much traction
– It is both expensive and time-consuming to develop native mobile apps and then get them approved by the app stores (Google Play and the Apple App Store)
Ideally, you would have both, but for now, a responsive website seems like the safer plan for internet marketers until your business demands a mobile app.
Many Internet marketers remember February 2011 very clearly. It was when Google rolled out its Panda update, which instantly changed the way websites were ranked by the Internet search engine giant’s algorithm.
Will Googles latest update – that rolled out starting on April 21 – cause the same amount of angst and teeth-gnashing? Possibly.
Google is finally acknowledging that most people are accessing the web via their mobile devices – such as their phones, tablets and new iWatches – rather than on old-school laptops or (gasp!) PCs. It’s new algorithm, which doesn’t yet have a deceptively cute animal name the way Panda and Penguin did, is expected to radically change the way marketers search results by being more mobile-friendly.
A recent survey by the consulting group gShift found that a majority of marketers expect Google’s new algorithm to change their site’s page rankings. And about two-thirds of the online marketers polled said they already have taken steps to make their websites more mobile-friendly in anticipation of the update’s roll out.
The Rise of Mobile Web Access
It’s a testament to how quickly technologies can improve that the majority of web users now use mobile devices to access their favorite web pages and apps. Increased bandwidth, exponential expansion of memory and data processing, and near-universal WiFi has made mobile the way to go for most Internet users.
Only a few years ago – perhaps not coincidentally when Google was rolling out its Panda update – it was unthinkable for most people to stream their favorite TV shows or play multi-player games from their phones while on the go. But today, it’s as common as having a cup of coffee in the morning or chatting about “Game of Thrones” over the water cooler.
Who the Update Will Effect
About a third of website owners polled by gShift said they get between 11% and 50% of their traffic from mobile devices, and that’s probably on the low site. Another study conducted by the mobile commerce platform Branding Brand found that 43% of all traffic to major retailers comes from smart phones and tablets.
If you have taken steps to make your web page more mobile-friendly in recent months, you’re not alone. An estimated 68% of marketers surveyed by gShift said they have made the move to mobile-centric web pages.
And it makes perfect sense. Digital marketers understand how important it is to provide page visitors with websites that are optimized for the devices they are using to land on them. Having a well-defined mobile strategy today is as important as SEO and link-building were prior to Panda and Penguin: It was simply something that you had to do in order to be successful. Not doing it was unthinkable.
Please note that this update aims to show websites that are mobile friendly to people who are browsing on a mobile device – ie cellphone
So far we have been told that it does not effect standard computer browsing – just mobile
Although this is new factor – it is only one small factor out of hundreds that they take into consideration
You can see more about this at:
Top Secret Algorithm Update
While Google, as usual, is remaining tight-lipped about what its new algorithm will look like, there are some clues if you know where to look. For example, in March Zineb Ait Bahajji, a member of Google’s Webmaster Trends team, hinted that the new update will have a more profound impact on search results than either of the previous “Big Two” updates did.
While Panda weeded out websites with poor quality content and Penguin, which came in 2012, penalized sites that used backlinks and other artificial means to boost rankings, the latest Google algorithm update is anticipated to value pages that are most optimized for mobile users.
So if you haven’t already converted your web pages so that they are mobile-friendly, there isn’t much time left. You don’t want to wake up to discover that your top-ranking web pages are now nowhere to be found.
Going forward – it would be worth while looking at a more mobile
site, if you think your customers
will be searching for you on their mobile
devices (ie cell phones)
We have a number of responsive templates that you may find suitable
Get in touch with us to find out more