In 2015, optimizing your marketing strategy for mobile users is no longer an option – it’s absolutely necessary. Internet usage from a mobile device has officially surpassed desktop Internet usage, and the gap is expected to widen in the near future. Is your website mobile friendly? If not, your business is at a significant disadvantage – not just from a usability perspective, but also in terms of search engine optimization.
What Makes a Website Mobile Friendly?
A mobile-friendly site is simply one that offers a good user experience, no matter which device is used. User experience should be your ultimate goal: 61 percent of users gain a more positive view of a brand when they offer an excellent mobile experience. The most typical way to do that is by creating your website with responsive design, which dynamically adjusts the site based on the device and screen size used by your audience. Not only does responsive design make the site look great regardless of device, but also ensures a similarly great experience with future devices that aren’t even on the market yet.
But good user experience from a mobile device goes beyond responsive design. On most mobile devices, users use only their thumb to navigate around the page, which makes ease of navigation paramount. Buttons should be at least 45 pixel wide in order to accommodate the use of a finger rather than a mouse pointer. The site’s content should also be less lengthy. Relevance is still essential, of course, but users are simply less likely to read multiple paragraphs on a mobile screen. In many cases, compelling visuals with short captions work better.
Other important aspects to consider as part of your mobile-friendly sites are optimizing your forms for mobile devices, not using flash elements, and including easily clicked contact phone numbers.
All of what we’ve discussed so far is completely related to usability. But a mobile friendly site also has serious implications for your search engine optimization. Just this month, search engine giant Google announced that it would begin to rank mobile-friendly sites higher in its search engine results. A move that had been expected in the SEO community after Google began to display green checkmarks next to “mobile friendly” in mobile search results.
Google’s reasoning for this change is simple:
“Users should get the most relevant and timely results, no matter if the information lives on mobile-friendly web pages or apps. As more people use mobile devices to access the Internet, our algorithms have to adapt to these usage patterns.”
In other words, the company is recognizing the increasing prevalence of mobile Internet usage and will adjust its algorithms to continue delivering the most relevant content possible. It’s in Google’s best interest to give users the best possible experience if it wants to retain its status atop the search engine market, and offering preferential treatment to mobile-friendly sites accomplishes just that.
Making Your Website Mobile Friendly
Considering both issues of usability and search engine optimization, a website that’s not optimized for mobile can significantly hamper your marketing efforts. But how do you go about ensuring a website is optimized for today’s mobile reality? Some aspects, like optimizing your content for mobile users and including phone numbers prominently, are easy to change. Others, like redesigning your website to be responsive and treated favorably by search engines, require a more in-depth approach.
In that case, it may be in your best interest to contact a web developer or marketing agency to help you get your website up to speed. Doing so can help turn your site from a static business presence into a dynamic marketing tool for digital promotions.