In April of 2015, Google made huge changes to its ranking criteria for websites. They now require Mobile Friendly Website Design. Why? How your website is viewed on a mobile device greatly affects user experience. It is more important than ever that your business has a mobile friendly website. Finding the best option that will give you website longevity in this online world is the key to the foundation of your long term success. There are two options for displaying your website on a mobile device: Mobile Optimized and Mobile Responsive, but only one will rank well on Google.

mobile responsive vs mobile optimized

What is the difference between mobile optimized websites and mobile responsive websites?


I am so glad you asked! There are huge differences, not only in design, but in function, user experience, and ranking on search engines. Below we take a look at each option and describe why one is better than the other. 


Mobile Optimized Website Design

Have you ever gone to a website on your phone or tablet and at the bottom is says “View Full Site?” That is a Mobile Optimized Website. I don’t know about you, but when on one of these sites I usually don't find what I am looking for. I end up touching the “View Full Site” button and now I am stuck pinching and zooming! Out of complete frustration and pain (trying to focus my eyes), I go back to Google or abandon my search completely.


When a website is Mobile Optimized you have two different websites.  One for mobile and one for everything else. That means that every page on your website has to be designed TWICE!  Not to mention, mobile versions on this platform are usually a reduced version of your full website. This is important since 61% of global Internet users research products online that they are intending to buy prior to purchasing (Interconnected World) and 94% of business buyers do some form of online research (Acquity Group).


Imagine spending all of your energy and marketing dollars designing a billboard, but your consumer only gets to see half of it.  That is absolutely ridiculous!  Why would you reduce your relevance in the marketplace by 50%?  Last year more than 50% of Google searches were done from a mobile device (Search Engine Land). Don't you think that your consumer should be able to fully interact with your website?


Mobile Responsive Website Design

Alright, so what is Mobile Responsive?  A mobile responsive website gives your consumer the full version of your website and makes it easily accessible from any device.  Websites that are Mobile Responsive detect the size of the screen you are viewing them on and automatically respond. It is essentially the artificial intelligence of Website Design.  This means the entire website will fit whatever screen it is being viewed on. 


If the website was designed properly, when on any device, all of the the text will be easily readable. You should be able to click on different elements with your finger and not lose the beautiful design. There is no zooming, no pinching, no reduced functionality and the usability is unprecedented. Don't forget, content is key when it comes to ranking on google. Having all of that content accessible from a mobile device is important when it comes to the ranking of your website. 


When everyone started carrying a computer in their pocket, web developers were scrambling to find the answer to reach the consumer. Responsive website design is the best answer to this dilemma, because it gives your consumer full access to your website from a mobile device. Responsive Website Design best meets the requirements for ranking on Google, while accommodating all of your consumers mobile needs.  


At JCI Marketing we are EXTREMELY biased toward Responsive Website Design and we feel that we are for good reason. After all, we are experts in Website Design.  If you are not sure if your site is mobile friendly, make sure to check on Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test or HubSpot's Marketing Grader. Take a look at some of the work we have done and make sure to check out the two minute video on our homepage.


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