Welcome to Episode 1 of the Riches & Brooks Podcast!
We have created this podcast as an experiment to see if we can bring you more value when it comes to getting more customers online.
Today we are talking about the fact that Google are going to be penalising non mobile-friendly websites and how you can make sure that your site is fully optimised for mobile traffic and Search Engine Optimisation.
We hope you enjoy. If there is anything that you would like us to cover in a future podcast, please send us a message.
James: Hello and thank you for joining us on the Riches & Brooks podcast with me, James Brooks…
Simone: …Simone Gobbo.
James: We are starting this podcast and every time we do one, we’re basically going to be covering some aspect of how to get more customers online. That’s what we’re about at Riches & Brooks. We help other businesses to get more customers online, so we’re going to be covering topics to do with digital marketing, websites that sort of thing. So this way we’re going to talk about quite an important SEO issue at the moment which is mobile friendly websites.
Now Google, probably a few weeks ago now, announced on their webmaster blog that they are going to be basically penalizing websites that have not gotten a mobile friendly version of their site. Now, we’re going to just talk about that going to some of the issues of mobile friendly websites and hopefully, help you guys to not get caught out by this update of Google are going to roll out at the end of April.
James: 21st of April, that is the date to watch out for where they’re going to start rolling out this update. So Simone, mobile friendly website.
Simone: Yeah, first of all this update, there has been a lot of confusion of this topic won’t affect overall rankings, so will affect only mobile rankings. I’m not sure about tablet rankings but mobile rankings anyway. And so, people searching for your website on the phone who want to see your website, it is now mobile friendly. It’s not a small issue, mobile traffic is massive at the moment and so, it’s something to consider if you’ve got a website. And what does Google mean with mobile friendly? Basically, it means website that will look good on a mobile device mainly and so, not too much scrolling and it will look all nice and almost like an app.
James: Yeah, so talk us through, Simone. You’ve got a couple of options really with mobile friendly websites, haven’t you? You’ve got really, as I see it mobile responsive websites and then sort of mobile sites.
James: So talk us through those two pros and cons.
Simone: Mobile sites are intended to be a complete different site, so you’ve got more than one version of the website usually hosted on a subdomain like m.yourdomain. The good thing is that obviously you’re free to do whatever you want with your website because it’s literally a separate version of the website, so you can tailor every single base to look good on the device. On the downside, if you share that link, it will look bad on other devices other than the mobile.
James: Yeah, because I remember this has always been a bumper for us with Amazon because Amazon have what we would call a mobile site m.amazon.co.uk or whatever and it’s really frustrating when you send someone a product that you’re looking at on Amazon on your mobile. They receive an email that say on their desktop and then they are taken to this horrible mobile site and it just looks a complete mess from the browser.
Simone: Yeah, the other approach to mobile websites is responsive websites and in this case, you got one single website that responds to the screen width of your device, so all via code it will check what device you’re using and change the aspect of your website. Obviously, this means it is a bit more complicated to set up and there are some rules to respect, so I don’t want to go too technical but not to use pixels but to use percentages, use different kinds of images. This sort of thing, but your web developer should be able in 2015 to design a mobile responsive website in my opinion.
James: Yeah, so basically you’ve got your mobile site which is essentially a separate site which is meant for the mobile and obviously now in day and age where we have mobile devices of varying sizes as well, I mean it’s not as if mobile phones have just one size. You’ve got different screen sizes of mobiles and you’ve got tablets and different sizes of tablets. So actually, that brings some difficulty too, so you got that on one side of the things and then the responsive design is basically one single website but it responds based on the size of the screens, so images will change size, maybe if you’ve got side by side icon, they might move rather than being side by side on desktop, under one another on the mobile.
The fonts might increase, let’s say on the mobile sites, so that you can see more clearly what you’re looking at. So well firstly, I think the thing to say is that if you’re not sure whether your website is mobile friendly then Google have a tool that you can use to actually test. And if you just do a Google search for Google mobile friendly test, you’ll find it. You put your URL in, they call your site and within a couple of minutes, they’ll come back and say whether they see it as an acceptable mobile site or not. So if you’re not sure, definitely check out that tool.
And in terms of let’s say you’ve not gotten that mobile friendly site either you find out using that tool or you actually know this site is not mobile friendly, our advice would be you need to get a mobile responsive site, really mobile responsive is the way to go and a standalone mobile site is a bit old-fashioned. So how do everyday people go about that?
Simone: Well easiest way, it sounds hard but it’s to create a new theme for your website because if a theme is born non-responsive converting it, it’s pretty hard for a web developer. The result probably is not the best you can get and cost wise, it will probably cost you as much as developing a brand new theme for your website. So I’m not saying that people should do new designs and stuff because you can convert your old design to a new responsive website quite easily. Obviously, the developer will need to probably start from scratch and it will probably be the most cost effective way to proceed. I don’t know if you agree with me.
James: Yeah, definitely I mean I think, obviously we use WordPresses or content management system for the vast majority of our clients. Actually, it’s pretty cost effective. If someone came to us with their website and said, “Hey, we’re looking to make this mobile responsive, can you create a new WordPress theme for us?” It’s pretty straightforward task for us and so, people shouldn’t be scared by getting a mobile responsive site and maybe create your new WordPress theme or something like that because it’s a pretty standard procedure. The design is a big part of the process and once you’ve got that down and you know how the site should behave, then actually creating a mobile responsive theme for WordPress and probably for other content management systems as well is straightforward.
Simone: Plus, most of the people actually use standard themes that are provided by the content management system they’re using. I personally talked about WordPress because it’s what we use in 99% of the projects and WordPress is pretty good saying yeah, this is a theme that is optimized for more mobile responsive. So if you’re just using a theme off the shelf from WordPress just change the theme, we will probably look good.
James: Right. Okay, yeah. So if you’re not so bothered about the actual design, you’re running a WordPress site perhaps it’s time to change the theme. That makes complete sense. Okay, so in some way really this update is important, if you want a piece of the mobile traffic and you want to rank well for mobile results then you need to have a mobile friendly site whether that’s a mobile site or a mobile responsive site.
Simone: Yeah, I will say that this update from Google is not strictly just about the design, it’s about mobile friendliness, so it means loading fast, not too slow and old, that’s what we’ll probably cover in a new episode because it could take hours talking about performances of the website, but it’s more like a whole mobile friendly experience for user. It’s not just the layout.
James: Yeah, definitely. That makes complete sense. Okay, well I think we’re leaving that for this particular episode and if you’ve enjoyed this episode, please feel free to subscribe. You can subscribe in iTunes or any other place where you get podcasts. Obviously on our blog, it’s where we’ll have some show notes with links that we talked about and transcription as well. So feel free to check it out. That would be at richesandbrooks.com on the blog and we will see you next time.