About a year and a half ago word was out about what is known as the mobile-first index. This is where Google uses algorithms that ranks websites based on their mobile version. In the recent months, Google has launched this initiative and we can only expect it become more vigorous.
If your website is not already mobile friendly, it is essential that you change that to avoid falling off the search grid. A study by Flurry shows that U.S. consumers spend over 5 hours a day on mobile devices from this about 86% is taken up by smartphones, which translates to individuals spending around 4 hours and 15 minutes on a mobile phone every day. These are all potential prospects you risk losing because of a poor mobile website. While desktop websites will indeed still be considered, not having a mobile friendly website or a separate URL for your mobile website will negatively impact your rankings.
The primary way of browsing has shifted to mobile browsing in comparison to desktop browsing. If you are unsure if your website is mobile friendly you can use this mobile-friendly test created by Google to determine where your website currently stands.
ClickZ marketing technology transformation researched how highly ranked websites stand in the mobile-friendly category. The results clearly show that if you are doing well in the mobile-friendly category, your chances of being in the highly ranked websites are elevated.
Get prepared for mobile-first-index by following these steps
Avoid using multiple URL’s
You may have a separate URL for your desktop site versus your mobile site, and the content may vary on them. Perhaps your desktop website may have more content than your mobile website. This is where you begin to create confusion with your prospects. They are not getting the same information, and you would be creating a poor user experience for them.
Moreover, you are spending unnecessary time, resources and money by trying to maintain multiple websites when it is not required. By having a single URL for both mobile and desktop websites, you are providing your prospects with a better experience. While saving your valuable time, resources and money that could be used in another area that would make a positive impact on your business.
Make sure your website is mobile friendly
Prospects make decisions faster than ever. They expect products and services to know what they need, when they need it and deliver it instantly. They also expect tailored experiences, and you need to find a way to meet these expectations and provide the right information at the right time and provide a personalized digital experience. You need to be showing up when and where they search if your website is not mobile user-friendly you risk your ranking falling which will result in you not showing up when prospects are going through their buying journey.
Furthermore, it would also lead to user frustration which may lead to negative reviews which have the power of driving high volume prospects away from your business.
Your mobile website should essentially be easy to navigate, have quick links they can tap, readable content without having to zoom in constantly and high-quality content to enhance your prospects experience to increase the likelihood of them returning to your website. You need to have a responsive and adaptive website. Optimizing your mobile experience will help you avoid a high bounce rate too.
Improve your website load time
With the extensive range of options available to a prospect, nobody wants to waste time waiting for a page to load. The average person has an attention span of eight seconds thus your ideal load time should potentially be under five seconds if it’s taking your page longer than that to load you’ve already missed out on prospects and lost business.
Google states that about 29% of the users will switch to another website if the ones they access are sluggish, and 53% of the users left a website which took longer than 3 seconds to load. Quick downloading shall multiply your ad revenue and boost visibility by 25%.
You can now use tools such as GTmetrix, Google Page Speed Insights or Pingdom to assess the speed of your website.
Get the upper hand over your competitors by adopting rich snippets
You can use rich snippets to enhance your user experience further and have an advantage over your prospects. Rich snippets contribute to you getting noticed if you don’t get traffic to your website you are not going to be reaching your goals.
Rich snippets such as ratings, pricing, and availability are more of the common aspects we see as a trend. This is quick information available to a consumer when they type in a query in a search engine. You can now also use this free google test to check if your page supports rich results this will also help boost your search ranking.
Voice searches are on the rise. While 20% of searches are by voice on the google app, this should be taken into consideration as it will potentially be the future (near future). Try and in-cooperate this feature into your website, this will give you another upper-hand over competitors, and you will be pre-prepared for something that is going to take more control in the coming time.
Avoid non-playable content
If you are posting GIFS, videos or other such content you need to make sure these are playable on a mobile device. If the content is not supported by the mobile device and the consumer is not able to view it this can create frustration, and you will be pushing them away to another webpage.
Aim to use HTML5 standard tags rather than adding the unsupportive formats for videos and animations as all browsers support these, this is also a plus point for your desktop users who don’t have flash player and other software.
Companies need to start changing their mindset to mobile-first based thinking when they are thinking of their websites; desktop websites are now the second priority. It is no longer enough to have a responsive web design; you need to think in terms of optimization to be able to get the best possible results. Failure of mobile optimization will result in your prospects turning to your competitors and eventually in your company’s’ demise.
With the rapid pace of mobile growth, you need to get ahead of the game and go the extra mile in providing the best for visitors, leads, and consumers. The aim is to give users a quick, easy to navigate, and an enhanced experience; in turn, your company will flourish.