The need to build mobile websites has never been as important as it is today. When Google modified its search ranking algorithm to favor mobile-friendly websites, we all knew the web development landscape would change entirely; however, trends in mobile search and traffic have exposed the greater impact mobile-unfriendly websites can have on businesses.
Google has confirmed that more than half of all search queries in the world are now done on mobile devices and tablets, which accounts for hundreds of billions of searches annually. Due to the scope of this activity, Google now rewards mobile-friendly websites by ranking them higher in search than their less mobile-friendly counterparts. To maximize their marketing exposure and growth potential, businesses must learn to design highly functional, mobile-optimized websites that aim to improve the user experience.
What Google Looks For In Mobile Websites
Google constantly changes its algorithm to improve on the mobile user experience, whether it is through displaying more relevant search results, featuring more user-friendly websites or something else entirely. The algorithm weighs hundreds of unknown factors against each other to satisfy that end goal. Although there are lots of moving parts in this system, it is widely believed that website design, structure, and speed are among the most crucial factors being weighed.
Websites must be designed with the end user in mind. Information that users tend to look for – like business hours, call buttons, social media links, and relevant content – should be easily accessible and not barred by unnecessary obstacles. Websites should also be highly functional and user-friendly so that users can easily maneuver through the website and effectively engage with it.
To see if your website is mobile-friendly, use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool.
Websites with great internal linking structures will hold a serious advantage over similar websites with poor linking structures. Internal linking refers to the organization and logical structuring of related posts, products, and content for search engine and customer use. A solid linking structure will allow (1) Google to properly index and rank a website and (2) users to easily navigate to related areas of a website where they can better engage with it.
For a comprehensive guide on website structuring, click here.
A mobile website that takes longer than 3 seconds to load should expect to lose quite a bit of traffic and potential business. According to DoubleClick, 53% of visits to mobile websites are abandoned if they fail to load in 3 seconds or less. Speeding up your website can help retain traffic and significantly increase user engagement as well.
For more information on the effects of page speed on traffic and bounce rates, as well as a guide to speeding up mobile pages, click here.
What Users Look For In Mobile Websites
A 2015 study on the behavior of mobile users suggests that about 39% of individuals would leave and look for a similar business if their mobile experience was a negative one. Factors that often contribute to a negative mobile experience include:
-Slow mobile pages
-Poorly designed user interfaces
-Touch elements that are too close to each other [buttons, links, etc.]
-Long contact forms
-Search bars that are hard to find
-Small text that is hard to read
The Key Benefits of Mobile Optimization
Optimizing your website for mobile can yield amazing results. Not only will you be able to retain web traffic by reducing bounce rates, you will also be able to take potential business from competitors that are not mobile-optimized. Responsive, mobile-optimized websites are quickly becoming a necessity in today’s business environment, so make sure you set your website up for success and optimize today.