Google Says Desktop Sites aren’t Essential

Search Engine Watch says desktop sites aren’t essential for improved rankings.

Search Engine Watch has reported on a statement from a Google employee that is making waves in the online marketing world. According to the article, John Mueller, a webmaster trends analyst at Google, said that desktop sites aren’t essential to gaining search rankings.

The statement comes from a Google Hangout, where Mueller said, “I think what I’d try to make sure is that it still works on desktop and that it doesn’t show an error on desktop, but rather someone on desktop can still access it.”

He continues: “What generally happens is, we will just include the mobile site in our search results, like any other site, and we will present it to desktop users.”

Don’t Ditch your Desktop Site

First, it’s extremely important to recognise that Google isn’t advising businesses to stop using desktop sites. While people are using their smartphones to do searches and view websites more and more often, they still aren’t ditching desktop computers.

A desktop-friendly website can be more accessible and easier to use than a mobile site, depending on the nature of your site and what kinds of services you provide. Always consider how your market is using your website. While in general mobile sites are increasing in popularity, are the people you are targeting using their phones to view your site?

Your desktop website remains the face of your business online and should be the foundation for your online marketing. All of your other efforts, like social media promotion, content marketing, and advertising, should support your website’s mission and direct traffic there.

Embrace Mobile

By the same token, businesses should be embracing mobile sites. The fact is that more searches are performed on mobile devices than desktops, and there are some things people like to do on the go from their smartphones.

What Mueller is saying is that it’s acceptable to put mobile optimisation first, without sacrificing desktop optimisation. This approach won’t harm your search rankings and will help you meet the needs of all your users.

Responsive Site Design

A responsive site design will ensure your site is both mobile and desktop friendly. Responsive sites are easy to use on both desktops and mobile devices, because their layout, design and proportions change depending on how they are being viewed.

Simple Navigation

The navigation on your mobile site should be clean and simple. Remember that people are looking at it on a small screen, so offering just a few choices and easy-to-use menus is ideal. A simple navigation will also help clean up your desktop site, making it easier for people to find what they are looking for and helping you streamline your lead generation and sales processes.

Easy Calls to Action

Finally, your mobile calls to action should be easy to respond to from a tablet or smartphone. They should be short and to the point and your site should be designed in a way that makes it easy for people to take action. Think large buttons, prominent phone numbers and a simple shopping cart system.

This latest comment from Google doesn’t mean that desktop sites are outdated or that you shouldn’t focus on optimising yours for search engines and customers. It does mean that mobile sites are very important and that focusing on creating a mobile site first, that also functions on a desktop, is an approach that could work for your business.