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Is Lack Of A Mobile Site Hurting Me?
austtr




msg:4626655
 5:53 am on Nov 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

[googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.ca ]

That blog is about redirect issues that involve the interface between the desktop www version and a mobile version of a site. It's clear Google is very sensitive to the mobile landscape and are prepared to penalise sites (the desktop WWW site according to the example) that don't redirect as per Googles preferred method.

I may be jumping at shadows but is this perhaps an oblique way for Google to say that if a site wants to be taken seriously and rank well against its peers, there needs to be a mobile version to reach the increasing number of smartphone users.

Is there anyone here who feels that not having a mobile site might be in some way be related to their post Penguin demise? I guess that question can be also be asked in reverse... has anyone seen an improvement in their desktop site after launching a mobile site?

 

lucy24




msg:4626703
 12:03 pm on Nov 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

The linked article distinguishes pretty clearly between content "at a different URL" (what most people mean when they talk about having a mobile version of the site) and mobile-friendly content at the original URL. And everything under "faulty redirects" really boils down to "please use the brains God gave you".

The smartphone suggestions page [developers.google.com]* lists three options:

--responsive design
--dynamic html with "Vary" header
--separate URL

In that order. Two of the three involve no redirecting at all.

We do not consider tablets as mobile devices because, among other reasons, they tend to have larger screens. Most tablet users expect to see tablet- or desktop-optimized pages when browsing the web. This means that, unless you offer tablet-optimized content, users expect to see your desktop site rather than your smartphone site.



* It's really https, but Forums software didn't like that. Ahem.

aboshakeeb




msg:4626704
 12:05 pm on Nov 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

Despite rank , Penguin , Serps etc .. . a mobile site is an easy way for improvement .

ohno




msg:4626711
 12:42 pm on Nov 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

We are seeing more & more visits from mobile devices. Although our site is not designed for mobile it works & people can purchase from us. I think we will still make a dedicated mobile site in the next 12 months. Forget Google, if it makes your customers happy then that is all that matters. I don't think a lack of mobile site would hurt rankings, why should it? Can anmyone say they say ranking improved accross the board for having a mobile site & that was the sole reason?

RedBar




msg:4626728
 2:30 pm on Nov 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

has anyone seen an improvement in their desktop site after launching a mobile site?


It's made absolutely no difference to my sites whatsoever.

What is interesting is that 99.99% of my visitors do not use the mobile sites, even on small BlackBerry screens users still stay with the desktop site.

Why? I have no idea, the mobile button is next to the home button so it's not as though it cannot be seen plus people cannot say the mobile sites are no good because, quite simply, they are not trying them.

On iPhones/Lumias/HTC/etc, my desktop sites display as designed and are legible for anyone with normal eyesight however I have to use glasses sometimes, it depends how tired my eyes are. On anything with screens 6"+ my regular desktop sites display perfectly and I do not need to use glasses.

Of course it does depend on the width of your website, I rarely make anything wider than 900 pixels

aakk9999




msg:4626757
 3:58 pm on Nov 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

What is interesting is that 99.99% of my visitors do not use the mobile sites, even on small BlackBerry screens users still stay with the desktop site.


I am also not using mobile sites in most cases - I always respond with "No" when asked to move to mobile or am finding a link to force a move to desktop if redirected automatically.

Why? There is always this feeling that mobile site is "cut down" version of the main site and that "you may be missing something" by going to mobile site.

I would only change to mobile if I find desktop site very slow or ackward to use.

ohno




msg:4626765
 4:06 pm on Nov 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

Why? There is always this feeling that mobile site is "cut down" version of the main site and that "you may be missing something" by going to mobile site.

Spot on & usually true! I guess it depends on what your site does, if a cut down version allows a user on a small screen to achieve the goal easier then it makes sense. I made my first online purchase via my phone a few months back, the retailers mobile site was great & the purchase took less than 2 minutes. On the desktop site I would have struggled.

Swanny007




msg:4626810
 8:17 pm on Nov 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

I just launched a new responsive design on my biggest site a few weeks ago. I did it to have a good mobile user experience, I know I much prefer visiting mobile optimized sites, but only if they have all the same content as the main site.

I think for most sites a responsive design is the way to go. You have one template, one domain, no redirects, it's simpler and just works. That won't work for every site though.

I can tell you that from looking at my stats, my traffic did not decrease before making the change (as though I was being penalized), but I have seen an increase in traffic since. I doubt it's related to the new mobile/tablet friendly layout though. I've been adding new content almost daily this month whereas I had only posted maybe 25 articles the whole year prior to that.

That said, I wouldn't be surprised if at some point down the road Google does start to rank non-mobile friendly sites lower. When it comes to putting users first, mobile visitors shouldn't need to pinch, zoom, etc. to view an article.

Do what you need to make your site the best for all your visitors and worry less on what Google is doing. Remember you have control of your site and (basically) no control over Google.

If you have to ask a mobile visitor to choose between a mobile site view or full site view, you've already failed. Remember the KISS principle.

Swanny007




msg:4626811
 8:21 pm on Nov 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

It's made absolutely no difference to my sites whatsoever.

What is interesting is that 99.99% of my visitors do not use the mobile sites, even on small BlackBerry screens users still stay with the desktop site.

Why? I have no idea, the mobile button is next to the home button so it's not as though it cannot be seen plus people cannot say the mobile sites are no good because, quite simply, they are not trying them.

RedBar, it sounds like you do not detect and send people to the mobile version. Why is that? People probably don't click the mobile button because they already clicked the back button.

RedBar




msg:4626814
 9:13 pm on Nov 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

RedBar, it sounds like you do not detect and send people to the mobile version.


That is one of my pet hates, websites assuming that I am on mobile simply because I may be using Android. Thankfully my tablets offer me the option of selecting desktop but if a site sends me straight to mobile, I'm gone.

EditorialGuy




msg:4626841
 12:18 am on Nov 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

Whether it's necessary or desirable to have mobile versions of your pages (or even "responsive design") probably depends on how well your desktop pages render on smartphones. A busy, cluttered layout like the home page of the New York Time looks horrible on a typical iPhone or Android phone, but a two-column blog layout might work just fine.

Search comes into play, too. We have hand-edited smartphone versions of several hundred pages in the most popular section of our information site, but when I search from my iPod Touch, Google Search always sends me to the desktop versions of those pages even though I've correctly implemented annotations for desktop and smartphone versions. (I put a lot of time into creating those smartphone-friendly pages nearly a year ago, but Google seems to ignore them.)

netmeg




msg:4626846
 1:07 am on Nov 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

During my busy seasons, over 70% of my traffic is mobile now. I didn't wait till Google decided whether or not they were going to act; I put up mobile sites three years ago. I'm sure they're aware of how much of the traffic (searches) come from mobile and can tell whether or not my users are finding what they want when they get there.

My B2B customers are even seeing increased mobile traffic now, but the difference is, my mobile traffic is mostly smartphones, and the B2B sites' mobile traffic is almost exclusively tablet. So we put up a mobile site (or in some cases responsive design) just as a hedge against the future.

lucy24




msg:4626853
 1:53 am on Nov 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thankfully my tablets offer me the option of selecting desktop but if a site sends me straight to mobile, I'm gone.

Happily this is exactly what g### recommends :)

Swanny007




msg:4626930
 9:23 pm on Nov 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

RedBar, I don't know what your site is about but it sounds like you might be a good candidate for a responsive site :-) Google will eventually punish you for what you're doing... isn't that what the blog post is about?

RedBar




msg:4627045
 3:51 pm on Dec 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

but it sounds like you might be a good candidate for a responsive site :-)


The mobile sites are responsive and html5, I have also constructed several html5 responsive desktop sites but have had to replace them because they just wouldn't rank in Google.

lucy24




msg:4627082
 10:52 pm on Dec 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

The mobile sites are responsive and html5, I have also constructed several html5 responsive desktop sites

It sounds as if you are using the term "responsive" in a non-standard way.

RedBar




msg:4627092
 12:28 am on Dec 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

It was late, I was tired ... I have developed a fully responsive, html5 template site in desktop format to a 1,000 px width, however my first usage of it was for my mobile extensions on several sites, subsequently I have also used this template for some new sites without much SERPs success.

Yes, it works across all formats, beautifully, and even better than I ever dared to have hoped on small screen smart phones:-)

The template width can be adjusted to whatever fixed-width required and even elastic/flexible if required, quite simply I prefer to view desktop sites in fixed-width.

lucy24




msg:4627103
 1:52 am on Dec 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

It is not every day you see the words "responsive" and "fixed width" in the same sentence.

Zivush




msg:4627117
 5:13 am on Dec 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

@RedBar
I'd suggest you to read more about "responsive design". You may learn some new things, actually, not so new.

has anyone seen an improvement in their desktop site after launching a mobile site?


No.
However, after reading what Google recommend about mobile experience, and their long term focus, I see it as mandatory. It's a must and may become one of the most crucial ranking factor very soon.

RedBar




msg:4627159
 11:51 am on Dec 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

You may learn some new things, actually, not so new.


I'm fine with what I'm doing, you do what you want to do.

RedBar




msg:4627160
 12:02 pm on Dec 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

It is not every day you see the words "responsive" and "fixed width" in the same sentence.


[m.bbc.co.uk...]

[m.bbc.co.uk...]

Zivush




msg:4627161
 12:15 pm on Dec 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

@RedBar
I apologize. Didn't want to offend in any way.

EditorialGuy




msg:4627178
 2:13 pm on Dec 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

However, after reading what Google recommend about mobile experience, and their long term focus, I see it as mandatory. It's a must and may become one of the most crucial ranking factor very soon.


For mobile search, anyway.

martinibuster




msg:4627193
 3:35 pm on Dec 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

For mobile search, anyway.


Right. Lack of a mobile friendly version might impact your mobile search rankings. Don't see why it should impact desktop rankings.

From a report on SearchEngineLand about changes inhow Google ranks mobile sites in mobile search: [searchengineland.com]

To improve the search experience for smartphone users and address their pain points, we plan to roll out several ranking changes in the near future that address sites that are misconfigured for smartphone users.

RedBar




msg:4627203
 4:27 pm on Dec 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thanks for that martinibuster, there's a Google developers post here:

https://developers.google.com/webmasters/smartphone-sites/

It's the first time I've actually seen Google state this:

We do not consider tablets as mobile devices because, among other reasons, they tend to have larger screens. Most tablet users expect to see tablet- or desktop-optimized pages when browsing the web. This means that, unless you offer tablet-optimized content, users expect to see your desktop site rather than your smartphone site.


That's a good piece of clarification for all.

netmeg




msg:4627227
 4:54 pm on Dec 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

(They had to say that to justify why the advertisers can't bid separately for tablets anymore - just for phones)

Zivush




msg:4627244
 5:24 pm on Dec 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

This means that, unless you offer tablet-optimized content, users expect to see your desktop site rather than your smartphone site.

Yes, but I think one must effectively address a rapidly growing mobile/tablet audience.
There are 3 big questions -
1. Does the future of the web belong to desktop or mobile?
My Guess: Mobile, including tablets.

2. Does the future of mobile content belong to the web or mobile-apps?
My Guess: Mobile-apps

3. Does the future of mobile apps belong to HTML5 or native Apps.
My Guess: HTML5

p.s. and Google search will become an application-content search :-)

martinibuster




msg:4627268
 6:40 pm on Dec 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

Know what can hurt a little? Is the quirky manner Apple tablets interface with the real world. Buttons stop functioning or go missing altogether, photos get uploaded in portrait mode instead of profile and other issues related to poor Apple engineering.

I've had complaints from Apple users about these kinds of things and researched for solutions. Some solutions are easy, quirks related to how the devices read CSS.

Bottom line, testing is more important now than ever. It's WORSE than when we had to contend with NN 4.7, remember that?

EditorialGuy




msg:4627281
 7:44 pm on Dec 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

We do not consider tablets as mobile devices


I noticed just the other day that, under "Mobile," Google Analytics now shows traffic in three categories: "desktop," "tablet," and "mobile." (I don't know when the change took place, but it makes sense in light of the quoted Google comment.)

RedBar




msg:4627284
 8:43 pm on Dec 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

Google Analytics now shows traffic in three categories: "desktop," "tablet," and "mobile."


It's shown it that way in AdSense for a long time however it is not very accurate since it recognises a Win8 smart phone as a desktop and when selecting desktop on an Android tablet, it can't recognise that either.

The tablet I can understand but the phone? Even Statcounter can distinguish that.

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