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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

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host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

Do responsive websites achieve better results in google searches

Hi all.

Google is telling webmasters that responsive websites rank better in search results than non-responsive ones.

Andy, you afforded the time-consuming process of making your website responsive some time ago. Nice work by the way.

Have you noticed any improvement in search results due to this modification?

I'd like to know your opinion on this matter.

Thanks
MSD Soft Send private email
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
 
 
By "your opinion" I mean all forum members that want to share their experience with responsive websites.

Thanks.
MSD Soft Send private email
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
 
 
My understanding of the subject (which of course is subject to Google changing their approach all the time) is that they do not directly penalise responsive websites. Instead this is the natural side effect of something else they monitor: Bounce rate.  This is how long a visitor stays on your site. This, of course is very significant if a lot of your traffic comes from mobile devices and your site is not responsive.

Responsive sites look great on mobiles. Frequently they work better on mobiles than desktops machines. As a result site visitors will invariably spend more time on a website that is easy to read and a joy to navigate.  Non responsive website are really difficult to read on mobile devices, due to tiny text and mini buttons. As a result  visitors on mobile device bail out much faster increasing the bounce rate and reducing your visibility in the SERPS.
Andrew Gibson Send private email
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
 
 
>Have you noticed any improvement in search results due to this modification?

I haven't crunched the numbers yet. But it definiately looks as if mobile traffic is up significantly.
Andy Brice Send private email
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
 
 
Andrew and Andy, thanks for your answers.

Andy, I am not too interested in mobile traffic at the moment.

What I would like to know is if your desktop traffic has also increased thanks to the changes you made to your website.

My website contains many pages and I would not like to afford the task of making it responsive just to find out that the improvements only affect to mobile traffic.

Willing to read one of your well thought out reports in your blog about your experience with "responsive traffic" :)
MSD Soft Send private email
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
 
 
>What I would like to know is if your desktop traffic has also increased thanks to the changes you made to your website.

Correlation does not imply causation.

Even if it went up around the time the website changed, I could be sure that the website change caused it.

>My website contains many pages and I would not like to afford the task of making it responsive just to find out that the improvements only affect to mobile traffic.

It was a lot of work. But I just got to the point where:
a) I was a bit embarassed by it.
b) I couldn't stand the crappy tool it was created in (Netobjects Fusion)

>Willing to read one of your well thought out reports in your blog about your experience with "responsive traffic" :)

I plan to. But I am currently a bit exhausted from releasing Hyper Plan v2...
Andy Brice Send private email
Thursday, March 17, 2016
 
 
My website isn't responsive but it looks okay on handheld devices. Definitely usable and readable.
Making a sale from someone who first arrived from mobile is about 1/100 as likely as making a sale from desktop visitors.
My only serious competitor went responsive (and much better looking) around xmas. My sales, visits, CR and everything have been totally unaffected. He should have taken some of my market share if this was so important.
Therefore I don't give a damn about responsiveness. Mobile traffic is probably totally irrelevant in my market.
But generally I agree Andy. My website looks a bit embarrassing and too basic, so I'm planning to change it soon.
Zka Send private email
Thursday, March 17, 2016
 
 
Correction:
I could *not* be sure that the website change caused it.
Andy Brice Send private email
Friday, March 18, 2016
 
 
>Making a sale from someone who first arrived from mobile is about 1/100 as likely as making a sale from desktop visitors.

You might not make many sales to mobile visitors. But perhaps they find you on mobile and then come back later on desktop to buy?
Andy Brice Send private email
Friday, March 18, 2016
 
 
Or book mark your site on mobile Chrome which means the bookmark will be accessible on all Chrome browsers signed into the same account. I do this very frequently. I.E. find a site on a mobile then check it out on a desktop if it's Windows software.
Andrew Gibson Send private email
Friday, March 18, 2016
 
 
"Andy, I am not too interested in mobile traffic at the moment."

Why not?

I have 3 clients on the go at present, and all 3 of them are finding that more than half of their visits are via mobile.




AC
Reluctantlyregistered Send private email
Friday, March 18, 2016
 
 
I am aware that mobile traffic is very important nowadays, but...

Rounding my Google Analytics results, 92% of my visits come from desktop, 7% from mobile phones and 2% from tablets.

If some of you would say, "after making my desktop software website responsive, my visits from mobile and tablet traffic have increased an incredible 30% and my sales a nice 5%", then I would consider working on my website.

The truth is that, as I only sell desktop software and I do not know how many of my mobile visitors buy, I am a bit reluctant for the moment.

A mobile traffic success story from a desktop software mISV would be really inspiring :)
MSD Soft Send private email
Friday, March 18, 2016
 
 
>A mobile traffic success story from a desktop software mISV would be really inspiring :)

I don't think there is any way that I can know for sure how much effect the new responsive website has had on sales: desktop or mobile. I didn't run an A/B test. Changes could have been caused by other factors (e.g. Google algorithm changes). And I can't track when someone found the site on mobile and then revisited to buy on desktop.
Andy Brice Send private email
Friday, March 18, 2016
 
 
"You might not make many sales to mobile visitors. But perhaps they find you on mobile and then come back later on desktop to buy?"

Yes, but... 1) due to the nature of my software (uses PC specific hardware peripherals) it is very unlikely that someone coming from any mobile device is actually looking for my product. They are most likely looking for something else. 2) I surmise most people who browse the web at home on any mobile device connect to the web through their own wifi and therefore will use the same IP address when they later return on PC. I can actually see a lot of this happening and these guys have an awfully low conversion rate. Probably due to the fact outlined in point #1.
Zka Send private email
Sunday, March 20, 2016
 
 
> I surmise most people who browse the web at home on any mobile device connect to the web through their own wifi

I don't. I have free data on my phone contract.
Andy Brice Send private email
Sunday, March 20, 2016
 
 
A typical example would be someone that follows one of the Gawker media type blogs such as lifehacker. These are the sort of sites that millions of people browse on their mobiles on their way to and from work.  These sites frequently do PC/Apple software round-ups of products in a given niche.  If your product should happen to be featured on a site like this, then you will be getting large significant stream of relevant mobile traffic. This of course won't convert very well unless you have a responsive website.

The main problem seems to be that most people are far to lazy to implement something that would be of net benefit to their customers and their business. However, I guess there's an element of Darwinism going on here at the moment.
Andrew Gibson Send private email
Monday, March 21, 2016
 
 
Andrew, my website has been built with FrontPage.

One day I discovered that my html pages were full of useless characters that FrontPage used to spread all over the place. My html code was just like hell.

I spent more than 80 hours of tedious work, cleaning the code manually, file by file, byte after byte.

I thought this great work would be rewarded by Google with better SERP results. Guess what? I had a big disappointment. A lot of pain, no gain :-/

I know website responsiveness is a must nowadays. But I will procrastinate this tedious task if I do not have feedback from other people with good results after making their website responsive.

Anyone out there with good "responsive" news?
MSD Soft Send private email
Monday, March 21, 2016
 
 
Responsive isn't about speed; it's about adaptation.  So basically your website has to look just as good on a phone as it does on the desktop.  If it doesn't, Google doesn't consider it "responsive" and penalizes it -- even if the content is 100% relevant and is better than any competing website.

So you need to ensure your website "responds" automatically to smaller screens, and so on.  You can't have images being cropped because they don't fit on the phone's screen, or text that doesn't word-wrap, or text that is too small to read.  That sort of thing.

That's what Google means by "responsive", but it's the wrong word.  It should be "adaptive", or something else that doesn't imply speed alone.
PSB136 Send private email
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
 
 
PSB136, I agree with you.

I think that a responsive website should adapt its contents in the best possible way to the device it is displayed on, but I also think that loading speed is also an issue for Google.

Anyway, the amount of work I should put in my website to make it "device aware" is huge :-/

Too lazy for now.

But, some desktop software mISV testimonial could change my mind :)
MSD Soft Send private email
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
 
 
It doesn't have to be that difficult. Install Wordpress. Get a responsive template. Copy and Paste. Job done!

The great thing about a CMS like Wordpress is that it make you more productive, by taking away most of the pain of getting new content online. I.E. you can publish new content from a mobile or tablet. Or email articles into the site.

I recently added a wordpress blog to my site which you can see here:
http://3d-box-shot.com/cover-design/
Still got a lot more to add, but I actually enjoy doing it now, which makes a massive difference to how frequently I update my site.
Andrew Gibson Send private email
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
 
 
@Andrew, could you make the red banner on that blog a little larger? I'm having trouble reading it.
Racky Send private email
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
 
 
It look great on mobiles though! :-)

Seriously, it does provide me a reasonable amount of freelance design works and drives sales for my product.
Andrew Gibson Send private email
Wednesday, March 23, 2016
 
 
Oh boy. I tried wordpress yesterday and it was a terrible experience.
Activated it on my webhost, selected a template and started to see a spam of php error messages after each operation in the WP admin. How lame, but let's ignore this. Probably my webhost's fault.

The main problem is that I don't see how I could embed my backend into a WP site. Things like:
- my own php based traffic logging
- separate registration page for eu/noneu
- uninstall feedback logging
- A/B testing engine
I also don't see how could I retain my old URL structure, so I guess I should make a big redirect list for my old URLs to the new URLs. I have urls like http://product.com/?whatever and WP seems to be unable to add that question mark.

For a new website I'd probably try to use WP and discover solutions to these problems on the go (I'm sure they can be solved), but for an existing website it just seems to be easier to redesign the html/css parts while keeping the backend unchanged.
Zka Send private email
Friday, March 25, 2016
 
 
Alarm bells start ringing when you mentioned "I activated it on my host". I.E. if you use your hosts autoinstaller you end up with the auto installed version having arbitrary permissions that your host has determined are suitable. I've had nothing but trouble with WordPress when I've used auto installers. It works like a dream if you install it yourself. This also  means you'll get a more upto date version of WordPress. You do of course have to check that the template you use is compatible with the version of WordPress you've installed.
Andrew Gibson Send private email
Tuesday, March 29, 2016
 
 

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