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Does your website smile a lot and give you a welcoming hug, feed you nice meals and make sure your wine glass is always full? We’re using a giant metaphor for the way the mobile version of your website needs to behave around your customers. Mobile friendly websites are an important factor when considering how your site should be structured. You may have seen the term ‘mobile friendly’ used across the web and that’s not without reason. In this article, we’re going to explain the importance of making your website mobile-friendly.

Why your website needs to be mobile friendly

Up to 60% of people use their phone to carry out a search rather than a computer.

Google state that more people carry out searches on their phone than a laptop. That number is only set to rise as people become increasingly ‘on the go’. This behaviour prompted Google to make changes to the way they crawl and index websites.

Google introduced a second indexing system specifically designed for mobile-friendly websites.

It was May 2015 when Google first announced the release of a new mobile-friendly ranking algorithm, that was designed to boost mobile-friendly pages in Googles search results. This prompted a surge in the need for well-designed responsive and importantly, mobile-friendly websites.

Google regularly updates its algorithm.

Although Google never reveals exactly how it ranks sites, they do announce changes to their algorithms and the potential effects that these might have on rankings. Google doesn’t shy away from the fact that they prefer mobile-friendly sites. In May 2016 Google announced they were boosting the mobile-friendly algorithm, increasing the efficiency of the mobile ranking system.

Google evaluates user experience by looking at mobile website responsiveness.

Google doesn’t like a website that is difficult to view on a mobile. Any content that needs the user to pinch the screen to get a clearer look or scroll from side to side to read or see the complete content, is given a black mark. The same follows for any confusing navigation and large graphics. Your conversion rates will also be lower if the call to action or pay buttons are obscured and difficult to press. Bounce rates will also be higher as a poor user experience will mean people quickly navigate away from your pages.

Mobile phones are increasingly used to carry out Google searches ‘on the go’ using voice recognition software.

Noticeably this is when people are making a search for a local product or service. The difference is that when we use our voices to search for something we ask Google in a different way to if we were to type the search. Put simply, we type keywords but speak in full sentences. For example, we might type:

‘Chinese Restaurants Perth’

But if we were to do a voice search we would say

‘Where is the nearest Chinese restaurant?’

This is having an impact in the way Google finds local business searches. The easier your mobile website is for search engines to crawl the easier it is for Google to find you.

Having a mobile-friendly site will give you a competitive edge

Even though Google has been rolling this out for a couple of years, up to 60% of websites continue not to be mobile friendly. Having a website thats responsive gives you the competitive edge. If you have a mobile friendly site you become easier for Google to find and present in a search result. People that have a positive experience with your mobile website are more likely to revisit on a tablet or computer.

Better marketing and impression of your business.

Google has said that people are five times more likely to leave a site that isn’t mobile friendly and half will leave if it takes more than three seconds to load. First impressions count. If your customers can’t use your website from the convenience of wherever they are on their mobile phone then they’ll simply find a website that does.

One to watch

Google has also ramped up the mobile-friendly options. The next level of mobile-friendliness is AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages. We mention this in our article what to expect for SEO in 2017 and it continues to gain traction. These pages load at the speed of lightning and as yet are only available on mobiles (the clue is in the title). This is basically a stripped back format of coding used in the building of a website. Google places these web pages in a carousel and gives them an apt lightning symbol, within their search result

 

 

 

AMP is a Google initiative started in 2015 that not only involves stripping back code but also utilising Googles own server. This means that instead of directing the person to your websites they remain in Google. AMP intention is logical. Making content quick and easy to get hold of is what people want and that’s what AMP is giving. Essentially it means duplicating your website and providing Google with the stripped-down version and not everybody is keen to make the step. At the moment it remains largely available and used by News company’s and blogs. It looks like it’s not a fad and it’s here to stay so we’re keeping a keen eye on developments.

You can check if your website is mobile friendly with Google’s free tool:

https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly

The key elements of mobile-friendliness that you currently need are responsiveness, good user experience and fast loading speed. Googles developments reflect the behaviours and needs of the society that uses it. It is likely that Google will roll out more algorithm changes that favour mobile-friendly websites in the future. Making sure your website is mobile friendly now, not only ensures you are ready for any Google algorithm changes that favour mobile-friendly websites but will give you the competitive edge.

If you’re interested in learning more about mobile friendly websites or having one created for you, please don’t hesitate to contact Start Digital today.