Mobile Responsiveness: What Does Google Want?

It’s official: Mobile has overtaken desktop as the number 1 device used to access websites, accounting for 51.3% of internet usage worldwide in October 2016. It goes without saying that the trend has continued this year, making mobile responsiveness a priority for website owners.

While information about mobile responsiveness is in the public domain, people are still getting raw deals either due to negligence in the part of website developers or their bias towards desktop.

It is not just enough to build a mobile-friendly site. Google requires one to do/have the following:


1. The mobile-first index.

Since more searches happen on mobile than desktop; it would be safe to prioritize mobile optimization over that of desktop. Mobile optimization here would touch on the speed and user experience thereof.


2. Mobile-friendly approach.

Responsive web design which entails crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from mobile phones to desktop computer monitors).


3. Dynamic content.

This is content powered by applications and scripts that run on the server hosting the website. When a user makes a request, these applications work in tandem with the web server to parse the request, generate content based on the request, and deliver the content to the user as though it were static (pre-generated) content.


4. Page speed.

This is important because of hardware and connectivity issues. To achieve this, code has to be minified, browser caching leveraged and redirects reduced.



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5. Don’t block CSS, JavaScript, or images.

These elements help Google understand if you have a responsive site or a different mobile solution. And since the Smartphone GoogleBot wants to be able to see and categorize the same content that users do, they shouldn’t be blocked.


6. Don’t use Flash.

This is because the plugin is mostly on desktops, and may not be available on your user’s phone. Hence most of your users will miss out on key functionalities.


7. Don’t use pop-ups.

Since most mobile users are on data, and the small screens make closing a pop-up more difficult, a website with pop-ups may have a high bounce rate.


8. Visible tabs and buttons.

If your tabs and buttons are either too small or too big, a user may accidentally click on buttons they didn’t want to, hence shifting their attention from the buying process.


9. Titles and Meta descriptions Optimization.

Due to the smaller screen space, titles and Meta descriptions need to be concise and on point so that users can get all the information they need and perform the desired action.


10. Local Search Optimization.

Name, address, and contact details should be standardized in a website’s metadata so that it can be responsive to local search.


11. Mobile Site Configuration.

Although we have hitherto talked up separate site configuration as an option, Google actually prefers responsive design, which they define as a technique to build web pages that alter how they look using CSS3 media queries. That is, there is one HTML code for the page regardless of the device accessing it, but its presentation changes using CSS media queries to specify which CSS rules apply for the browser displaying the page.


12. A Website Made By Legibra.

Well, Google have not come out strongly in support of this, but we figure they may want to because Legibra makes responsive websites and complies with all their standards.

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