Having a mobile-friendly site isn’t just good for your site’s visitors.
It’s now also highly preferred by Google and will even be used to rank your site. You now need a site that looks great on mobile devices to be competitive in search results.
Now is the time to ensure your site meets Google’s latest ranking criteria. Whether you choose a separate mobile design or a responsive site, incorporating mobile is a must.
Google’s Changes To Mobile Search
As of April 21, 2015, Google is changing how it displays search results to mobile users. The focus is on ensuring users only see mobile-friendly sites. Sites without a responsive or mobile design may not appear in the results. Google has already been using mobile-friendliness as a small part of their ranking criteria. Now, they’re expanding how they use it to deliver more relevant results to mobile users.
Takeaway: If you already have a mobile site, it might be time to check to ensure the site looks great on all screen sizes. If you don’t have a mobile site, hiring a developer could ensure you don’t disappear from mobile search results.
Mobile Results Matter
Mobile search results may not seem important until you fully understand how many potential site visitors rely mainly upon mobile devices to search for businesses, make purchases and find directions. During 2013, mobile traffic in the UK increased from 22.8% to 37%. This is only expected to continue to rise.
Recent statistics from early 2015 show 80% of users access the Internet via their smartphone. Tablets are being widely used as well with 47% of Internet searches coming from tablets. If you have an ecommerce site, mobile results are even more important. Mobile devices accounted for more online sales than desktops and laptops.
Takeaway: Optimise your site for mobile or you could be missing out on a large portion of Internet users. Your audience is just as likely to search for you on a smartphone or tablet as a desktop.
Mobile Affects Desktop Rank
Even if you don’t think you need a mobile-friendly version of your site, Google could penalise your desktop rank in the long term. Bounce rates are a major determining factor. If users try to visit your site on a mobile device and it’s not optimised for their device, they’ll go to another site. Eventually, this increases the bounce rate for your site and negatively affects your rank on all devices, desktops included.
Takeaway: Every site that wants to rank well needs to have a mobile or responsive design. Hiring a professional developer to optimise your site is an investment in the future performance of the site.
Better User Experience
If you take Google out of the picture, mobile optimised sites are still important. With many of your visitors coming from mobile devices of varying sizes, you want to ensure they have a good experience no matter what they’re viewing your site on. Visitors who visit a poorly designed desktop site usually move on the competition. Visitors trying to view a desktop only site on mobile do the same thing.
Takeaway: The user experience is just as important as Google’s search results. Use a developer to help design a site that’s ideal for your visitors on every device.
Meeting Google’s Standards
If you’re not sure if your site is mobile-friendly, you can check a few pages of your site using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool. All you have to do is enter a URL to be tested. Google will give you an analysis and let you know if anything is wrong. It’s also a good idea to have a professional developer test your site in-depth to ensure it’s mobile ready. They’ll be able to tweak any small issues that the Google tool might not notice.
Takeaway: Make a point of having your site tested or analysed as soon as possible. The sooner you’re ready for a mobile audience, the better you’ll rank in search.
Mobile accounts for a large portion of Internet usage. Ignoring the growing mobile trend could cost you visitors and rank position in Google. With new algorithm changes in place, it’s now more important than ever to go mobile-friendly.
Need to check your site or make the switch to a mobile-friendly design? Contact StuartMedia today to prepare your site for Google.
Image: Maria Elena