Consumers today spend 60% of their time on the internet on their mobile devices (Marketing Land) and in 2014, mobile traffic surpassed PC internet traffic for the first time (IBM). These stats reveal the importance of mobile internet and mobile-friendly websites. The term mobile-friendly refers to websites and apps that are easy to read and easy to use on a smartphone. Such sites do not require “pinching and zooming” and instead offer large text, easy to push buttons, and the ability to swipe. Mobile-friendly websites include mobile websites with specific URLs (i.e. m.example.com), responsive design websites, and adaptive design websites.
The Importance of a Mobile-Friendly Website
Mobile-friendly websites are important for a number of reasons, including:
- User Experience
- Making Google Happy (Google Mobile-Friendly Update)
- Improving Your Mobile SEO
- Supporting Your Other Digital Marketing Efforts
All About User Experience
Ask yourself this question: is the experience of viewing your website on a smartphone optimal for your user? In the end, you want to make your user happy. To do so, you must first determine what your user is typically looking for on a mobile device. In most cases, he or she is looking for directions, a phone number, an email address, or reviews. Determining what you user wants when he or she accesses your site from a mobile device and giving it to them is the concept of task orientation.
We recently designed a website for an architecture and engineering firm with several locations throughout the Midwest. They determined that their mobile users are most interested in finding contact information for each individual location. Now when you access their site from a mobile device, the first thing you see is a list of locations. As you click on each one you will receive a phone number, email address, and driving directions to that office.
Google Mobile-Friendly Algorithm Update
On April 21, 2015, Google updated their algorithm to place a greater emphasis on the importance of mobile-friendly websites. This mobile-friendly algorithm update now factors in a site’s mobile-friendliness when turning up search results. The update is an on-or-off algorithm meaning you either are mobile-friendly or you aren’t, and it operates on a page-by-page basis. This update just goes to show how important Google finds mobile-friendliness and should be more than enough to encourage you to go responsive!
Mobile Search Engine Optimization
Mobile SEO focuses on hyper-local results that change based on your exact location and your device type. That means that having a website optimized for your location will help its rankings for those searching for local businesses. Google released a local algorithm update in July of 2014, known as Pigeon. The Pigeon Algorithm Update was designed to provide search results that are more relevant and accurate. You can help optimize your website for local search by including your city in your Metadata and general site content.
Other Digital Marketing Efforts
Mobile-friendliness isn’t just linked to your website. Mobile-friendliness is also important for all of your digital marketing strategies, such as:
- Blogs – People won’t share blogs on social media if they aren’t mobile-friendly! Help your blogs become mobile-friendly by hosting them on a responsive site and making them easy to scan.
- Email Marketing – Mobile now makes up the majority of email opens at 51% (Litmus). Make sure your email newsletters are legible on mobile devices and keep your subject lines to 30 characters or place the important stuff up front!
- Social Media – You can check your social media strategy for mobile-friendliness by focusing on responsive advertising, short links, bite-sized status updates, and a lot of visual content.
- Online Forms – Very important but often overlooked, mobile-friendly forms are a must. Whether it is a donation form or a quote request, ensure that these pages on your website are mobile-friendly before pushing out to large audiences.
- Geolocation – This refers to the act of targeting your consumers by their location. Popular uses of geolocation include check-ins (i.e. Foursquare), local searches and push notifications.
- Mobile Payment – Mobile payment refers to payment services performed from or via a mobile device, alleviating the need for physical cash or cards. Mobile payment, like Apple Pay, streamlines the checkout process and really is the payment of the future.
Are you prepared for the mobile revolution? Check to see if your website mobile friendly by using this Google tool. If your site is really out of date, consider a full website redesign using responsive design technology. If you aren’t quite ready for the full redesign, talk to your developer about retrofitting your current site for responsive design. And finally, upgrade all of your ancillary digital marketing efforts to be mobile-friendly as well. Contact Informatics if you need assistance going mobile.