When you search in Google on your mobile phone you can now start to see some websites listed as ‘mobile friendly’. What does this mean for the searcher and marketer and what is an ‘m.dot’ website. Google recently announced an update to its search algorithm for searches on mobile phone devices. The essential theme being that for searches on a mobile phone, the search results listing for a given search term would be influenced by how mobile friendly the website was. Google offers a great tool if you want to test how mobile friendly your current site is.
If you did not already have a mobile friendly site and fail the Google test – which you would most inevitably would what do you do? You then have to make a choice with your marketing and/or website company on whether to go for a fully responsive or m.dot mobile friendly design. Both types are shown as mobile friendly in Google but they do differ.
Essentially an m.dot website (URL starts with ‘m.’) is one that has been set up purely to serve a mobile phone device. A responsive website is ‘display responsive’ and does not start with an ‘m.’; responsive websites appear as mobile friendly and start with the normal ‘www.’ prefix. What makes a responsive website unique is that it scales and organises the content served for the specific device screen whether it is a desktop PC screen (of which there are many sizes), tablet computer or mobile phone.
An ‘m.’ mobile design site is generally the least costly route to take to when looking to server content to a mobile phone. The site is essentially a copy of our main website and the server provides a page optimised for the mobile phone that is smaller and easier to navigate than the main site. As a copy of your main domain (www.) the site must have an ‘m.domain’.co.uk or .com name. The downside to this is that it can dilute the main domain and damage organic search traffic. In addition you end up with two separate websites to maintain. Link equity can also be reduced as any links shared from mobile browsers do not count towards the main website. The ‘m.’ website will also not future-proof. It could require rework for future phones, operating system upgrades and browsers.
Responsive websites like www.Redbows.co.uk offer a more flexible and long-term solution. With a responsive mobile friendly website the search device does the work and works out how to display the content, automatically adjusting content according to screen size and orientation. With a responsive website design you do not need another website domain and have one unique source of content to maintain. This fits better with Google’s own webmaster guidelines as it preserves canonical URLs, avoids redirects and simplifies the process. Responsive websites also preserve the value of links to your site and is better for those looking for visitors by organic search results. Responsive websites also offer a future-proof technology as once set-up the technology will work with any future mobile phone or operating system developments.
If you would like to know more about mobile-friendly websites and how we can help you meet the latest Google webmaster guidelines, please do get in touch with the Redbows team on 0800 158 3080.
Written by Dawn Koffler.