The advent of the smartphone completely changed how consumers browsed the web. Users are no longer limited to browsing the web from hefty desktop computers. Mobile devices with touch screen capabilities and faster Internet connectivity make it possible for anyone to access their favourite websites whether at home or on the go.
Smartphones are now so ubiquitous that it’s almost impossible to find anyone without one. Some businesses were quick to adapt by offering mobile-friendly versions of their websites. But many others lagged behind and lost a major competitive advantage as a result.
Nothing is more frustrating than tapping through a mobile search result only to find that the content is only legible by zooming in and out. Worse are sites that seem to take ages to load and you’re stuck staring at a blank screen. As more consumers shift their attention to mobile devices, the importance of mobile optimization cannot be stressed enough.
Here we’ll look at why you should have a mobile optimized website and what you can do today to deliver a better browsing experience for your users.
Google Has Made Mobile-Friendliness a Ranking Factor
Google’s primary goal has always been to deliver the most relevant search results. The widespread adoption of mobile devices simply meant that it’s ranking algorithms have had to adapt to these usage patterns.
To make it easier for mobile users to find high-quality and relevant results, Google began rolling out a global update that made mobile-friendliness a ranking factor. Google gave plenty of notice before the update was rolled out but the message was clear to all webmasters—Make sure your site adheres to all mobile best practices or you risk ranking lower in the search results.
The deadline has long since passed but it’s never too late to start. Google recommends implementing a responsive web design as it offers an optimized browsing experience across all screen sizes and there’s only one URL for the Google bots to crawl and index.
Mobile Users Expect Fast Browsing Experiences
That’s the average amount of time that 53% of mobile users will spend on a page before bouncing out according to data from Google. Consumers aren’t just expecting mobile-friendly websites. They now expect those same sites to load quickly on their devices and many won’t hesitate to bounce out.
Having a mobile-friendly design is already a great start but slow loading times could be killing your conversion rates. A few seconds is all it takes for visitors to consider hitting the back button. Improve loading times by optimising your images, enabling browser caching, and reducing response times. Another measure you can take is investing in a Content Delivery Network (CDN) which delivers even faster loading times.
Mobile Optimization Gives A Competitive Advantage
Mobile-optimized websites make it easier to engage with users and provide a seamless buying experience. Not investing in a mobile-friendly design ultimately means losing a competitive advantage. Those who were quick to adapt to the new algorithm changes by offering high-quality mobile experiences were among the first to reap major benefits.
The good news is that it’s still not too late to optimize your site. Start by implementing responsive design and avoid using Flash as most mobile devices do not support this software. As your site will be rendered on much smaller screen sizes, prioritize content above the fold and keep your call to actions visible.
Once you implement these steps, remember to regularly test your site on a mobile device. Is the content legible or do you need to zoom in? Are you able to tap on the correct links? Consider hiring users to do some testing for you as well so you can make further improvements to your mobile site.
Kym Wallis, the founding director of Higher Ranking has over 15 years of advertising sales, digital strategy, and business development experience. He is currently working as Digital Adviser for Colourtech.