With unsurpassed market share, a dominant global online advertising network, and the ability to single handedly impact a website’s PageRank, it is no wonder companies and search engine optimization (SEO) professionals are ever vigilant when it comes to any potential Google algorithm change. In fact, one of those Google algorithm changes is in the works right now and will be released this April. When it is released, it will forever impact how mobile-friendly websites are measured in online searches.
So, why is it so important for companies to pay attention to how mobile-friendly their websites are? Well, simply put, today’s customer is using mobile devices like never before. In fact, we are all constantly connected, constantly accessible and constantly searching for relevant information via our mobile devices, handheld computers and or tablets. It’s our favorite way of staying in touch with those issues, events and news items we see as most important to us.
Whether it’s staying in touch with friends and family, or simply sharing something of relevance with likeminded individuals, we are all mobile and all connected. Here are just some of the reasons why your company’s website must be responsive to today’s mobile user.
• Keeping Users Engaged: Providing engaging content is critical to keeping users engaged online. However, if you’ve ignored the mobile version of your website, then it’s more than likely that mobile users will quickly leave your website and go to a competitor’s. Time waits for no one, and in today’s online world, either your company’s website loads quickly or your visitors will abandon pursuit.
• Ignoring Your Call to Action: As a company, you must come to see your website as an extension of your sales team. In fact, an argument can easily be made that your website is your online sales funnel and one you have to optimize. However, if you haven’t optimized your website for mobile devices, then it’s all for naught. Your call to action and sales pitch won’t resonate if your customers won’t stay on the mobile version of your website.
• Accessing a Mobile Customer Base: It’s wrong to assume that mobile users are a different segment of your customer base. In fact, they are the same customers who visit your website via their desktop. The only difference is that more and more customers are now relying upon their mobile device to access the internet. You aren’t pursuing new customers. You are simply trying to keep the same ones engaged and on your website.
Google is often tight-lipped when it comes to potential changes. Instead of clearly defining criteria as to how a change might impact a website, they tend to offer small tidbits of information. Yet, in other cases, it’s all based on conjecture and rumors from multiple online sources. However, this time Google has done much more than just provide hints. In fact, they’ve been proactive by asking for input and suggestions from their own webmaster community via Twitter. Here are some of the issues you should address.
1. Decrease Mobile Page Load Times: Slow loading mobile pages do nothing more than frustrate users. Start by making sure your pages load quickly on mobile devices. If you are unsure, Google can help with its “Mobile PageSpeed Insights” section of its analytics site.
2. Videos: The videos and music on your site must be mobile-device compatible. Take the time to test all your online videos via different mobile devices.
3. Avoiding 404 Errors: Your website may not have any 404 errors, but that doesn’t mean it won’t show up as an error for your mobile users. Make sure all your redirects are working properly on mobile devices.
4. Fonts and Images: Fonts and images must be optimized for mobile devices. Your website’s font may be fine for desktops and laptops, but it’s something else entirely when you see that page on a cell phone. Having small, illegible font means your mobile users will quickly bounce off your page. That will result in a high bounce rate, which will invariably impact your website’s relevancy.
5. Improved Mobile Navigation: Your website’s navigation has to be optimized for mobile devices. It’s common to have a well-defined and easily navigable website that doesn’t transfer well on mobile devices. Take the time to review how well a potential customer can move from one portion of your website to the next.
Again, this isn’t about pursuing new potential customers. It’s about servicing a market where more and more of your customers will access your website through a mobile device. It requires a whole new approach and one that is predicated on making sure your website is as easy-to-use on a cell phone as it is on desktop or laptop.