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OPLIN 4cast #339: Smart(phone) websites

Posted in 4cast

google mobileGoogle has a lot of power to control which websites receive web traffic and which don’t, simply by altering the way they present search results. In the past month or so, it has become clear that Google wants to advance the development of websites that efficiently handle traffic from mobile devices. One way they intend to do this is by lowering the search rankings of websites that improperly redirect mobile users to special web pages or error pages, rather than using something like “responsive web design” (RWD), which automatically adapts the layout of a page depending on the type of device accessing it. Does your library’s website handle mobile users properly?

  • Now Google wants to kill the mobile web (ReadWrite/Owen Thomas) “You know those clunky, stripped-down versions of sites with addresses that tack an ‘m.’ onto the beginning, and serve up a dumbed-down, limited version of their content? If Google has its way, those sites are headed for the dustbin of history. At I/O, Google’s developer conference held this week in San Francisco, executives Sundar Pichai and Linus Upson showed off examples of websites that traveled smoothly from desktops to tablets to smartphones.”
  • Thank you, Google overlords (TechCrunch/Sarah Perez) “If you’ve at all used the web on your smartphone, then you’re all too familiar with this frustrating experience – you do a search, tap on a result for an article you want to read, then end up staring confusingly at the site’s mobile-web optimized homepage. Where is the content you wanted? Who knows! It’s a huge waste of time and bandwidth to have to deal with pages like this when surfing on a smartphone, and Google is now going to make sure that sites like that no longer get top placement.”
  • Changes in rankings of smartphone search results (Google Webmaster Central Blog) “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.”
  • Mobile site speed to be a Google ranking factor? (WebProNews/Chris Crum) “Google is making it so you have no excuse to treat your mobile content with less regard than your desktop content. Frankly, sites should be optimizing for mobile anyway, simply for the benefit of their users, but if ignoring the mobile experience is going to cost sites search rankings, perhaps this will light a fire under their butts to do something about poor mobile site performance.”

OPLIN fact (and sneaky promotion?):
If your library uses an OPLIN Dynamic Website Kit, no worries. All new sites are built with responsive web design, and all existing sites should be upgraded within the next year or so.