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Smartphone ranking changes coming - are you prepared?

     
12:02 pm on Jun 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Smartphone users are a significant and fast growing segment of Internet users, and at Google we want them to experience the full richness of the web. As part of our efforts to improve the mobile web, we published our recommendations and the most common configuration mistakes.

Avoiding these mistakes helps your smartphone users engage with your site fully and helps searchers find what they're looking for faster. 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.

Let's now look at two of the most common mistakes and how to fix them.
[googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com.au...]

From SMX in last 12 hours :

Next topic: Google’s smartphone news from today with Danny Sullivan and Matt Cutts.

MC: You really need to be thinking about mobile. We’re starting to think a lot about mobile. We’ve noticed a couple common problems:

* when every URL on your site redirects to a single mobile URL

* infinite loops when Googlebot gets sent back and forth from feature phone version of a site to desktop version and back again.

* at Google I/O, there was a session on instant mobile websites – there were page speed recommendations. We’ve said that before about desktop sites, we might start doing the same thing about mobile websites.

DS: When is the smartphone thing happening?

MC: It’s been approved. I don’t know when it’ll rollout.
[searchengineland.com...]
Some sites I watch have over 50% of traffic coming from smart phones. What are SEO's advising their clients and what are business' doing/not doing about it.
2:01 pm on June 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Pierre Far from Google has just posted this:

Dear webmasters,

Many sites don't give smartphone users the same great experience as desktop users. That's not good for anyone involved in the mobile web: the users, the webmasters, and Google searchers on smartphones.

Let's fix that.

We've published a list of common mistakes here: [plus.google.com...]
2:55 pm on June 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I hope having responsive design is enough. If not, then I am clueless. I still use a Captain Kirk flip phone!
9:54 pm on June 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Well competitors are going to continue to enhance their smartphone outputs. More than 50% of traffic to sites I watch are coming in off mobile and tablets are declining. Mobile is huge and will eventually dominate completely IMO

Responding a design to the device type used is vital for user experience. Some sites and topics are struggling to get the concept functioning right regardless though and their conversion rates reflect it. It also leaves the door open for alternative search technology, but I think sustainability through lack of control would concern any new incumbent.

The problem emerging is that webmasters are challenged with resources, so if the search market keeps dividing across devices, and changes roar out at the rate we are seeing, some folks will be unable to effectively run a split in their technology maintenance at highly competitive levels to maintain top quality user experience.
9:55 pm on June 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

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My sites are 70% mobile on weekends. They're all responsive, but I'm still refining the design and nav.
10:04 pm on June 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I hope having responsive design is enough. If not, then I am clueless.

That and making sure videos and flash things are replaced, reducing bandwidth etc. Your 'hover' code must be replaced with 'touch/click' code ofc.

Mobile phones are just like old PCs, on crappy networks, with smaller screens, but new browsers.

(I'm probably doing it wrong *sigh*)
10:15 pm on June 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

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My sites respond to user agent rather than screen width (for complex reasons). Not ideal but nonetheless gives the actual human being a pleasant experience with small screens, and gives me a lot more control over the design / content shown.
11:31 pm on June 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Smartphone users tell me they love my site design.

It was perfect in 1999: narrow page, quick to download on dialup. Kept meaning to update it for wider screens, take advantage of broadband. Just as well I never got to it.

What's old is new. Just wait long enough and you're fashionable again.
8:40 am on Aug 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Some recently released guidance here:

best practices:
•Server must render the response (< 200 ms)
•Number of redirects should be minimized
•Number of roundtrips to first render should be minimized
•Avoid external blocking JavaScript and CSS in above-the-fold content
•Reserve time for browser layout and rendering (200 ms)
•Optimize JavaScript execution and rendering time

[googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com.au...]
10:48 am on Aug 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I find it amusing that Apple don't have a mobile site and Samsung violate the guidelines. There's two of the biggest smartphone manufacturers out to start with!

Keep it simple as it's still evolving. Spend time optimising for speed and device / browser compatibility. If smartphones continue to grow in size (they seem to be getting bigger!) there will be little need to shrink down past 1000 pixels as Apple do.
11:16 am on Aug 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

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there will be little need to shrink down past 1000 pixels

Not much point to having a site whose content fits into 1000 pixels if half your users are reading it on a five-inch-wide screen. Seven-point type, anyone? Last time I looked, my iPad's browser still didn't have a set of preferences settings for default text size.
1:36 pm on Aug 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Not sure if this has been posted before, but makes interesting reading

[analytics.blogspot.co.uk...]
3:27 pm on Aug 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I've been looking at various sites on my phone since this thread started. I'm surprised how many of my top competitors have sites that really aren't usable on the phone for exactly the reasons discussed in the article. A lot of designs that work on desktop translate just fine to phones without any adjustments so I expected to see things working a little better than that.
10:19 pm on Aug 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Not much point to having a site whose content fits into 1000 pixels if half your users are reading it on a five-inch-wide screen. Seven-point type, anyone? Last time I looked, my iPad's browser still didn't have a set of preferences settings for default text size.


So Apple are wrong then, in the market they created. Also, Samsung violate the guidelines because any mobile referral redirects you to their home page.

I feel you are missing the point of my previous post entirely.
3:24 pm on Aug 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

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All websites I run or have anything to do with are responsive. And damn good. If I see even 0.1% drop in traffic once this rolls out, there will be trouble! :D
 

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