Mobile Usability / Responsiveness
Mobile usability and responsiveness refers to the way your website acts on a mobile device. Does it look the same as it does on a desktop? That’s not responsive. Does it shift into a different style, with the same content, display perfectly on any device type? That’s responsive.
Similarly to site speed, again, Google’s primary goal is to give their users the absolute best experience based on what they’re looking for including how they’re looking for it.
The reports on mobile responsiveness affecting search engine rankings is on the fence at best, but in theory, even if they are not today, Google will be rewarding websites that have a better mobile experience more than those that don’t, if all other factors are equal.
Note on history of mobile sites
Additionally, in the past, there have been different ways that business webmasters have dealt with the issue of mobile users.
Often times, they either
- did nothing,
- created a completely separate mobile version of the site, or
- rarely created responsive websites.
The first version is obviously the worst because it provides the user with a horrible experience on a mobile device.
The second option was a good one from a user experience perspective, but from a webmastering / maintenance perspective, it became very, very difficult to manage because it would be a static website for each separate size of screen. With the explosion of web-ready devices, of every different kind of laptop, desktop, tablet, smartphone, phablet, etc., you would have to create a separate version of the site for each device. #Nightmare
Responsive is much better, because the code is actually the same HTML for every screen size, but it uses different CSS to make the styling of the page variable based on what size of screen is viewing your content.
So, creating responsive websites, has become a very clear choice for webmasters because it solves the user experience issue as well as the management issue.
Google has also recognized this and can tell based on @media queries if your site is responsive or not.
To learn more about Mobile Usability / Responsiveness (how to properly and improperly implement, as well as how to find it on your site), signup for SEO Pro here