Earlier this year, we released a Marketing Insights with our predictions for 2015, one of which was that mobile will be one of the key focuses for web traffic.
In February, Google announced that as of April 21st, they were going to update the search algorithm to expand the use of mobile as a ranking signal for search results.
Here is a direct quote from the announcement, “This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”
In other words, it’s a gigantic deal!
And while Google doesn’t control the Internet, they do control a significant portion of mobile and desktop search traffic.
This means that the shift to emphasizing mobile’s value will have a lasting impact on any business that wants to get organic search traffic.
In an effort to help business owners and developers alike in identifying where their weaknesses may lay in the mobile universe, Google’s Webmasters have offered a simple mobile analysis tool.
The tool is easily used; just plug in the URL you wish to check and within a minute Google will give you a result.
What if I get a failed result?
Its possible that your website may return a result that looks like this…
Well, the bad news is that your website is not ready for Google’s mobile shift. And depending on what that drives your website’s mobile issues, correcting them may require an investment in your website of time, money, or both.
What are the options for mobile website access?
Some companies choose to have a mobile version of their website, essentially keeping two copies of the same content. When a mobile device is detected, they are redirected to the mobile website.
With limited exceptions, a mobile website is not a good choice for solving the mobile access issues associated with your site.
Besides the logistical challenges of managing the same content on two separate platforms and the potential risk of having branding issues, in 2013 Google published a blog article that outlined the ways in which mobile website are badly managed.
In other words, use a mobile website at your own risk.
Mobile responsive design is when the website is built in such a way as to automatically resize based on the device of the person browsing the website.
Mobile responsive is a much better way to provide a mobile experience because it ensures that the content will be easier to see and manipulate than in a pinch & zoom scenario for a non-mobile website.
The problem with mobile responsive is that it simply takes the content on your website and makes it easier to read on a mobile device.
Mobile first takes responsive design a step further.
In addition to making sure the technological platform is capable of responding to a mobile device, a mobile first website is build from the ground up to emphasize the mobile experience.
This means that the front page and subsequent page layout is done so with the idea in mind that the end user is likely going to be on a mobile device.
This kind of design requires intentionality of the placement of calls to action, the information requested of the visitors, and the accessibility of contact information.
Mobile first design also takes in to account bandwidth limitations for mobile devices by making sure that pages are streamlined for easier loading. This improves the page load time on the customer’s device and saves them from making unnecessary downloads in this age of limited data plans.
First, you need to know if your website is mobile friendly.
If your website isn’t mobile friendly, you need to make a decision. Are you going to focus on responsiveness or optimization?
We strongly recommend optimization.
It may represent an investment up front but the dividends paid in the customer’s experience and the improvement in your website’s ability to help you close business can be tremendous.
If you’re unsure how much it matters, check out your Google Analytics. There’s a report under Audience called Mobile Overview.
It will let you know how much of your traffic comes from mobile devices and tablets.
Figure out how many new customers you’d need to bring in to make building your mobile optimized website worth the investment and then, if the numbers look good, take the next step.
What does this mean for Inspire clients?
When we build websites for our clients, we do so with mobile first in mind.
If we’ve built your website and we’re providing ongoing support and maintenance, we keep up with the ongoing changes with mobile responsive technology and how it impacts your site.
If we didn’t build your website and you didn’t pass the test, please feel free to contact us.