Why you MUST be ‘responsive’ to avoid a damaging Google penalty

  • By Lucy Pepper
  • 5 June 2017

If you’re a business owner who appreciates the pulling power of your website, do not ignore Google’s latest advice.

Right now, they are urging website owners to ditch and switch: from a mobile site to one that’s fully responsive.

And you’ve only got about a year to do so – otherwise you could suffer a damaging Google penalty.

Why is being ‘responsive’ so important?
At some point in 2018, Google intends to perform a ditch and switch of its own: from a desktop search index to a mobile-first initiative.

Basically, this means that their algorithms will begin to evaluate web pages based on what can ACTUALLY be seen by a mobile searcher.

First announced back in November 2016, it has taken time for Google to roll out this important update. When it does finally happen, it’s expected to be done bit by bit so that as many sites as possible are ready for the change.

If you want to be proactive, the best thing you can do is:

Ditch your ‘mobile’ site and switch to a ‘responsive’ one before the mobile-first index launch!

What’s the difference between a ‘mobile’ and ‘responsive’ website?
If your web address features an m-dot domain when you use it on a phone or tablet, you currently have a ‘mobile’ site. This means customers will see a different website (and get a different user experience) than they would to the version they see on a desktop or laptop.

A site which is ‘responsive’ will provide your users with (almost) the exact same experience across all devices. This is exactly what Google wants.

What’s the risk to a business owner?
If you have an m-dot website, from next year (which is creeping up fast!) you’ll run the risk of Google not being able to ‘index’ or ‘read’ your content.

And if it cannot see what’s on your website, it won’t be able to ‘rank’ it in the search results. As a result, your online visibility could drop massively. Worst case scenario is that it could vanish completely.

If you rely on your website to attract new customers, this could cripple your business.

How can I make sure I’m not affected?
The only way to guarantee that your online visibility does not drop is to ensure you have a fully ‘responsive’ website. This means making sure your site shows the exact same content on a mobile device as it does on a desktop or laptop.

Obviously, we know that some website owners will still be thinking:

“I’ll wait until after the mobile-friendly index rolls out and see what impact it has on me before doing anything.” If this applies to you, be warned:

Migrating a website after the mobile-friendly index is adopted will be problematic. For one thing, it will take Google’s algorithms longer to find and read the content on your pages (its main ranking signal).

Don’t forget, there’s a reason why Google communicates well in advance with webmasters and SEOs about how to prepare for upcoming changes.

They don’t want people to ignore them!

To avoid falling into this trap, please send us an email or call (01482) 216006 and arrange a free website consultation.