What you should know about Google's new search algorithm
On April 21 Google will introduce new search algorithm rewards for websites that are fully optimized for mobile platforms. Currently 'mobile friendliness' isn't a significant ranking factor in the mobile search algorithm. Tomorrow, mobile-friendliness will be. If you were to search for something on a mobile device today and then search again tomorrow (April 21), the results pages could look completely different.
Considering the importance of organic search to your overall web traffic mix, not updating to a responsive design could be a significant blow to your analytics. If driving people to find, download content and interact with your site is an important part of your marketing mix, that drop-in traffic could translate into hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in lost opportunities, not to mention creating a lot of work for your web team if you're not out in front of this change.
Web accessibility and usability are important considerations regardless of what device you're developing for. Google has just decided to make it a lot more important for search.
To determine your readiness, check out Google's free assessment tool - you can access it here.
Responsive design is Google's #1 recommended design pattern - we agree
The growth of the mobile web has been explosive. Tablet and smartphone sales continue to exceed their desktop counterparts. Many, if not most, of your users are likely to be accessing your website from mobile devices or tablets. Optimizing your community for mobile is critical for seamless connection and lasting value. Regardless of which operating systems your members are using to access your site, Higher Logic recognizes the device and responds instantly. If your content isn't easy to understand or you can't concisely answer visitors' key questions, they will leave. In a competitive marketplace people have myriad ways to find a product that meets their needs or a website that answers their questions, so they aren't going to take the time to figure out how your site works. They're going to move on and find a site that's easy to use and quickly provides them with what they are looking for.
All Higher Logic community sites are responsive as a standard platform feature
At Higher Logic, we've been offering our clients responsive design as a standard for nearly a year. Our mobile strategy options help our clients deliver crisp, attractive experiences across devices and achieve their engagement, functionality and branding goals. We're committed to giving all our clients' community members more enjoyment and incentive to create and connect on their time.
Our responsive web design delivers content to the browser, assesses the size and format and then fluidly conforms to the display parameters. Responsive web design is all about browser size - it relies on the same HTML code, but with flexibility and fluidity to fit any screen or device. All Higher Logic community sites are responsive designs, ensuring your content appears its best no matter which device or browser you use. Responsive content reacts to the constraints of the device in use to display it as a smooth and clear user experience. You'll find your site is touch-friendly, attractive across devices and consistently styled.
Ultimately, having a mobile-friendly website is no longer a 'nice to have' attribute - it's imperative. For even more information on creating a mobile-friendly web experience, check out Google's recent post on its Webmaster Central Blog.