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I have received last week a warning from Google Webmaster Tools about the fact that my website is not mobile-friendly.

And it is not.

The reason why we didn't opt for a responsive design is that last year we signed a two-year contract to display three advertising banners (the largest being 728x90). Without these we would have no revenue to cover hosting costs.

Now it seems Google is forcing websites to go responsive else they would be penalised in the search results.

I was wondering if there is a solution to go responsive yet continue showing the banners in a clean way.

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A responsive layout will also benefit your advertisers so they should be behind you on this.

the largest being 728x90

This should obviously be 100% width on a small screen (and possibly the same for your other "banners"), however, it may need redesigning to work properly on mobile (the height is unlikely to be sufficient if simply scaled down). But, as stated, it's in your advertisers interests to do this properly.

Depending on how specific your contract is I imagine this will need to be revised to cover responsive mobile media.

  • Yes, I just experimented a little and it seems it is possible to resize the banners for smaller devices but I will have to check with the advertisers. It seems to be the only solution. – WPRookie82 Mar 19 '15 at 10:59
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    Your advertisers will likely profit from visibility of your site in mobile search too. – John Mueller Mar 25 '15 at 8:29
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Google allows three different mobile configurations:

Although there are many advantages to responsive, Google allows any of the three.

You have can a separate mobile site or you can serve different sized banners entirely to your mobile users.

As w3d says, your advertisers will want their ads to look good and fit on screens. You may have to revise your ad contract to show different size ads with mobile, but generally advertisers are eager for that.

  • If I launch a separate website it would still not solve my problem unfortunately. Also, and correct me if I'm wrong, but m.domain.com does not share the same SEO juice of domain.com so I would be penalised in that regards. I'll research Dynamic serving in the meantime, since it's the same domain. – WPRookie82 Mar 19 '15 at 13:05
  • subdomains can share SEO value with the main domain, especially when you use rel alternate meta tags between them as Google suggests when you make a separate mobile site. – Stephen Ostermiller Mar 19 '15 at 13:22
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People who do use google ads have an option of using the 320x50 ad unit perfect for mobile devices. When google tests pages for mobile usability, it checks to see if the page can nicely fit on a device 320 pixels wide without the need to scroll sideways to view all content.

Your best bet is to optimize your page to fit within a 320 pixel width and add the following in-between your HTML head tags:

<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width,initial-scale=1,maximum-scale=1">

Then contact whoever you're with for ads and see if they have a smaller ad unit with a width less than 320 pixels. This could give your site a better ranking with google and make your page higher on google's search result list which in turn raises your page view count which then could lead to more money.

But if you must insist on the larger ads, then you might want to make two versions of the site. A desktop version with the larger ad, and a mobile version with a smaller ad and create a script that can automatically redirect the users to the site that matches the device at the time.

  • At the moment I have: <meta name="viewport" id="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1, maximum-scale=2, user-scalable=1, minimal-ui" /> I will keep your advice in mind for mobile-only version. – WPRookie82 Mar 20 '15 at 10:04
  • I think /> to end the tag is meant for the old days when xml was used. That should be changed to just > . Also, using maximum-scale=2 will allow the mobile client to zoom in and out and the id parameter is not necessary and I'm not sure why minimal-ui is included in the values. – Mike Mar 20 '15 at 20:06

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