It's Here... Mobilegeddon, What now?
Web sites have become essential for companies to bring in customers and drive sales. Having up-to-date content is only part of using your website to its full potential; now, websites need to be compatible with mobile devices in order to reach your customers. Mobile phones are used to conduct three out of five searches, and 70% of these searches led to the user undertaking some form of action, whether it be a phone call, email, or website visit. This dependence on mobile devices has become a sort of “mobilegeddon”.
Read on to find out why it is so important for your site to be optimized for mobile use.
How Google Penalizes Websites that are not Mobile-Friendly
Most, if not all, companies have become familiar with the importance of using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) keywords effectively. These are terms content writers include in their work to help the page show up organically in search results. However, this is no longer enough, even when combined with paid advertising.
As of April 21, Google redesigned the algorithm that determines which sites appear in the results when users conduct a search from a mobile device. The company has increased the importance of being mobile friendly, making sites that are compatible with mobile devices more likely to show up in a user’s search results.
This change means that sites that are not designed to be viewed on mobile devices will be penalized by Google by way of not appearing in the user's search results. While Google isn’t directly punishing non-mobile sites, this change in search results will happen regardless of any SEO keywords used on the sites.
As a result, sites that aren't designed to be viewed on mobile devices will see fewer mobile device users landing on their sites.
Tests to Determine If Your Site is Suitable for Mobile Use
There are two simple tests you can run to determine if your site is going to be seen by mobile users.
1. Perform a Google search for your company on a mobile device. Sites that are mobile friendly will have a tag identifying it as such in the search results. In order to check for this tag, the search must be done on a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet. Using a laptop or desktop won’t show any sites as being mobile friendly.
2. Use the test provided by Google. To run this test, visit Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test site, click here and enter the URL for your site into the search bar. The test will analyse your site and tell you if it is suitable for mobile use.
3. Check your site from your smartphone. Visit your site from your phone or tablet, and see how well it functions. Sites that appear disorganized, have skewed margins, or that have distorted images are not mobile friendly. Also, take note of how long it takes for your site to load. On average, users will wait for a maximum of five seconds before moving on.
If any of these tests confirms that your site is not ready to be viewed by a mobile user, consider updating your site in the near future.
Should You Use a Mobile Friendly Template or Responsive Design?
There are two options for setting up your website to be used on a mobile device. Sites can either use responsive design or a mobile template.
Responsive designs are the most popular option, as it allows the creator to have one site that auto-adjusts to the screen size of the device the user has. These types of sites don’t require any additional formatting by the creator to be used on a mobile device.
In contrast, a mobile template is used to build a completely separate site that can be used on a smartphone or tablet. These templates are designed for a site as opposed to the size of the user’s screen. This means that additional sites need to be built for each type of device.
Using Phones to Make Online Purchases
As of 2013, more mobile phones were used to access the internet than desktop or laptop computers. This means visitors to your site are likely accessing it from their phones. According to research conducted by Google, 89% of people who have a smartphone use it every day.
All websites see an increase in traffic when they are optimized for mobile use, but none sees more improvement than stores. 80% of smartphone owners use their devices to shop. Considering Forbes Magazine reported that 91% of people who own a smartphone always have it within arm’s reach, it is no wonder that online sales are soaring.
Each year, consumers spend more money online. While this might be disappointing for brick and mortar stores, it’s good news for online shopping outlets.
Part of this is due to the fact that mobile advertising is more effective than traditional ads, especially when the ads are placed within an app. Although the percentage of people who click on an ad on a mobile device is only 1%, this is a huge increase from the amount of people who do the same on a non-mobile device. With desktops and laptops, users only click ads about 0.2% of the time.
For companies who have not yet diverted some of their advertising budgets towards mobile ads, this increase in clicks is a strong indication that it is time to get started.
In the end, mobile-friendly sites are the way of the future. Smartphones and tablets are continually growing in popularity and are rapidly outpacing laptops and desktops in all categories of use.