The Importance of Being Mobile-Friendly
Well, you've definitely noticed people walking around, glued to their mobile devices. And they aren't just calling or texting people: They're shooting off e-mails, scrolling through social media accounts, and even doing some research on the web—maybe looking for their next travel bucket list item.
A recent report by Hitwise, Mobile Search: Topics and Themes, found that more than 50 percent of global searches—and 58 percent of searches in the United States—come from mobile devices. The study, based on 11 key categories, discovered that 52 percent of travel searches (non-maps, in case you're wondering) were queried through a mobile device.
That doesn't mean that the majority of users visiting your site are using mobile devices. But, if your site isn't mobile-friendly, you could still be missing out on a huge audience.
Because mobile-friendliness changes the way Google and other search engines index and rank sites.
Google indexes websites based on the mobile version.
Google is beginning to look more and more at the content on mobile version of websites, rather than desktop versions. If the content on your website for desktop and mobile are the same, then this isn't necessarily a problem for you.
If the content on your mobile version is lacking key information available only on your desktop version, however, your ranking could be negatively affected.
Google looks for mobile responsiveness in evaluating user experience.
Most companies are interested in providing the best experience for their customers, and Google is no exception. In an effort to give their users the best experience, Google partially ranks sites based on how user-friendly they are.
The mobile experience of your website—including responsiveness, design and speed—is now a key factor in the evaluation:
- Responsiveness: Ensure your website doesn't require zooming in (via "reverse-pinching") to read information, or employs large content that requires scrolling left and right to read.
- Design: Avoid unnecessary pop-ups, confusing navigation and graphics that are not to scale.
- Speed: The tale of the tortoise and the hare isn't your best inspiration for website speed. The digital world is one of efficiency. If your site takes more than a few seconds to load, users might leave.
Google has spoken: It's critical for your website to be mobile-friendly for users to find you. If you don't have a mobile version of your website, then consider working that into your company's goals and planned actions. If your website is already mobile, critically test your website on a smartphone—and make adjustments so users can find exactly what they're looking for.
It's it in your best interest, too.
Written by Cassie Westrate, staff writer for Groups Today.