Google have recently announced that they are now judging how “mobile-friendly” websites are and using this metric to identity those that will perform poorly on mobile devices.
This is the third update that can be seen as a part of Google’s slow push to encourage Web developers to take mobile usability into account during the development stage. It was first announced that the search engine would begin to identify websites still using Flash and at the same time reward those that are mobile-friendly. Initially, Google would do this by placing a little label next to the search results that would display effectively when using a mobile device.
Now, the need to please mobile users has moved from visual alerts and promotions to actually effecting the ranking of landing pages.
So what does a site need to do in order for Google to consider it "mobile-friendly"?
One of the best ways to achieve this is to have your website built using Responsive Design. Responsive web design will enable your website will render across all devices. The design may differ between devices as it is dependent upon a number of factors including screen size. The main purpose of responsive design is to optimize a website in terms of usability for the device in use.
Technically, responsive design uses practices behind the scenes that are based on Web standards, such as CSS media queries. Despite insisting that websites now accommodate the increasing numbers of mobile users, Google doesn't really care how they do it. A website could be built with a separate mobile site, using responsive design, or even through some hybrid form of server side adaptive design; all of which are considered mobile-friendly techniques which is the most important thing!