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Go mobile: why is the mobile version of the site now mandatory for everyone

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On February 2, Yandex announced in its blog the Vladivostok algorithm, which made the mobile version of the site not just a nod to Google, but in fact one of the key requirements for sites in terms of ranking in mobile search. Since Tuesday, the mobile search algorithm has begun to determine whether a page is optimized for smartphones or not. At the same time, the site’s adaptability is only one of many factors (according to Yandex representatives, there are more than 800 of them). In addition to adaptability, the algorithm takes into account factors such as content uniqueness, usability, site speed, and many others.

The main nuance is that traffic from mobile devices continues to grow in both quantitative and relative terms, and search results on a computer and a smartphone can now differ depending on the responsiveness of the site. First of all, in mobile search, users will receive those web pages that will be convenient for them to use. Since last autumn, such pages have a special mark “Mobile version”. It should be noted that “Vladivostok” is by no means an accidental name; according to recent studies, it is the Far East that leads in the share of mobile Internet users in Russia.

The basic requirements for pages are pretty simple. First, there is no horizontal scrolling and no enlargement of the screen for reading small print, the content must be optimized for the screen size. Secondly, the elements of the site must work on the main mobile platforms. For example, flash videos have already come under sanctions in Yandex. Video, since they cannot be viewed in most mobile browsers.

An example of optimized and non-optimized pages for smartphones ( Source:  Yandex Blog ):

According to Yandex specialists, at the moment, only 18% of the million most popular sites on the Russian Internet are optimized for smartphones, this is a rather low figure. Let’s clarify that we are talking only about smartphones so far, and the ranking in search results on tablets is still the same as on desktops.  Site owners and SEO specialists can check site responsiveness in Yandex. Webmaster and Google Webmaster Tools. You can check the site’s mobility through the new Yandex. Webmaster – through the Site Diagnostics tool, the Recommendations subsection, the Site is not optimized for mobile devices item. Individual pages can be checked through the Mobile Page Checker tool.

What is the threat of the lack of a mobile version for the site owner? In addition to a decrease in traffic from search engines due to a special ranking in mobile search, there are also other negative consequences, most of them more likely related to the paths of users within the site. Common causes of customer loss due to lack of adaptability for smartphones:

  • Some of the buttons on the site may not be clickable on smartphones with a specific mobile browser. If a user nevertheless lands on a similar site from a smartphone, he simply cannot perform the targeted action. Example: a captcha triggered by a long press does not work on the iPhone 6, the user who filled out the order form cannot submit the order.
  • A banner with an advertising campaign pops up on the site, while the user cannot close the pop-up window due to the screen size. The user leaves the site.
  • The site is fixed in width or length, scrolling, in this case, does not work and an impressive part of the page remains hidden for the user. A similar error is often seen on vertical or horizontal scrolling landing pages.
  • The site does not have a responsive layout, the font is quite small. The user is forced to constantly use vertical and horizontal scrolling, which complicates his work with the site.

Our designers and layout designers have been introducing adaptive layout for mobile devices for a long time or, if necessary, a separate mobile version, subject to the consent of customers. Some of the requirements for adaptability have been put forward by our internet marketers since the introduction of the mobile algorithm by Google.

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