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Going Mobile: Keeping Your Website Current & Relevant

Mar 28, 2015 8:48:00 AMBy Doug Lang Posted in Web Design

Mobile-stats-vs-desktop-users-global-550x405Think about the last time you did an online search. Was it from a PC? A Mac? More than likely it was from a mobile device – smart phone, tablet, or the mysterious ‘phablet’. More and more people search on the go, whenever a thought strikes their fancy. We no longer have to make a note, mental or on paper, and look up a topic when we get home. Putting the worldwide web at our fingertips has given us access to instant information.

Mobile-Friendly

Now, when was the last time you were viewing a website from your smart phone, more than likely a search result, and kept having to reduce/enlarge the page, or had to scroll sideways just to read the content? Or couldn’t read it at all? Some websites have already been optimized to be viewed on a smart phone (mobile-friendly), and some have not. You don’t want to be the latter. Most importantly, you want to be user- and mobile-friendly to your customers. If the searcher has to fiddle too much with their mobile device just to read your website, more than likely they will move on to the next option. That’s a lost lead, potential customer, and possibly revenue! For some reason many businesses haven’t gotten on board with this mobile revolution…. it hasn’t sunken in yet. Maybe some cold hard statistics from Search Engine Watch can help convince the masses how much mobile usage has skyrocketed.

  • In 2014 mobile internet usage overtook desktop usage.

  • More than one-third of Google searches are now being performed on some sort of mobile device.

  • Mobile devices to account for 50% of paid search clicks by December 2015.

  • 60 percent of users now choose mobile devices over PCs for local search.

  • Mobile Devices now account for over 6o percent of all online traffic.

And starting soon, if your website is not mobile-friendly you could drop in search engine results.

Google Gone Mobile

Already, to make it easier for mobile searchers to find the information that they’re looking for, Google is adding a “mobile-friendly” label to their mobile search results.  Whether you like it or not, Google is pretty much the Godfather of search engines, results, and robotics (67% PC searches; 83% mobile searches ). Whatever ever they do in the world of online searches becomes the standard, and starting April 21st Google will be using mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This will have a significant impact in their search results and will directly affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide. By doing so, Google will make it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their users’ devices – no matter what size they are.

This tectonic shift in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will be ramping up globally over the next few weeks. A page will be eligible for the “mobile-friendly” label, and meet ranking requirements if it meets the following criteria as detected by Googlebot™:

  • Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash

  • Uses text that is readable without zooming

  • Sizes content to the screen so users don't have to scroll horizontally or zoom

  • Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped

How can you keep up with all these changes, so you’re not left behind in the Wild West of the internet?

  1. Type in your site’s pages’ URLs at the Google Mobile-Friendly Test – each page is important. It’s free and no strings attached.

  2. Make sure your website displays properly on mobile using a , one that remains the same on all devices, or mobile app.

  3. Avoid the most common mobile mistakes. According to Google:

  • Blocking JavaScript, CSS, and image files. Check your robots.txt file to ensure Googlebot™ has full access to these elements.

  • Videos or content not accessible by mobile (no Flash).

  • Faulty redirects: Don’t redirect mobile users to your homepage or another general interest page by default.

  • Using mobile-only 404′s: Showing a page to desktop users, but a 404 page to mobile users.

  • Interstitials block users from completing tasks.  For more on this, see Googles’ Help Page.

  • Cross-linking inappropriately: Mobile pages should link to mobile pages; desktop URL’s should link to desktop-optmized URL’s.

  • Slow mobile pages: Use the PageSpeed Insights Tool to ensure your site loads quickly on mobile.

How to Cope

This may all seem fairly daunting to the average business owner who does not have their own IT department or Webmaster.  But, it doesn’t have to be.  Whether you’re a startup planning on working with a website developer, or an established business that outsources your site, be sure to check the following:

  • Make sure your developer has references and a portfolio of mobile websites.

  • Make sure your developer understands your mobile customer.

  • Ask your developer to make a commitment to speed.

  • Have your developer install web analytics.

  • Make sure that you and your developer are aware of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

  • Make sure your contract includes improving your mobile site after the initial launch.

Shortly after you launch your website, or re-launch as the case may be, you’ll want to collect feedback from customers and data from web analytics. Utilize this valuable information to make your site even better.

Modern mobile devices have changed the way access information, and live in general. No longer is it a luxury, but a necessity. If your business is not optimized for the mobile world you may have already lost potential customers. Don’t lose any more! Make online mobilization a part of your immediate marketing plans, or Google will leave you behind….

Don’t know where to look? Try Avanti Vision Web Design & Development.

Or call: 484.552.8946.

GO MOBILE TODAY!

Posted in Web Design