We live in a fast-paced world where continuous technological advancements make all kinds of information easily accessible and available right at our fingertips. Furthermore, the desire for instant gratification leaves people constantly hungry for more information and more services, regardless of their location or the type of device they use.
Granting mobile users website access on the go has become a ubiquitous priority of most businesses in the world. A seamless mobile experience is a must, and having a mobile version of a website also provides customers with much better user experience, which positively impacts brand image and sales.
On April 21, 2015, Google rolled out a massive update of its ranking algorithm, requiring all websites, landing pages and blogs to be fully optimized for mobile. The internet started revolving around users' needs, delivering information that was relevant and accessible without tapping or zooming in.
Optimizing for mobile is imperative.
Making your website mobile friendly is important not only for avoiding being penalized by Google. There are a number of excellent reasons for opting in.
- The mobile revolution is still underway. Mobile is now a leading platform keeping pace with or surpassing desktop use. Google reports that "global mobile internet usage now stands at 76 percent."
- Mobile sites facilitate most online research. Today's mobile shoppers are obsessed with research and want to dig deeper when they look for products and services. This is especially true when online shoppers are more acquainted with the mobile site, or if they need to go directly to the source.
- Mobile sites can either build or break your brand. This is another interesting insight backed up by Google data. Brand credibility is at stake when it comes to mobile site expectations. If it takes too long to load your mobile site, you may have just lost a potential customer.
Check your website for readiness.
Besides creating cute seasonal doodles, Google offers a number of helpful tools for companies and website owners. Namely, they provide a free report inside Google Search Console, the Mobile Usability report, to help website managers adjust to the latest mobile search algorithm requirements.
Alternatively, Google has another tool, the Mobile-Friendly Test, that tells you "how easily a visitor can use your page on a mobile device."
Make your site mobile friendly.
If your website is unprepared for mobile-first indexing, it will have some serious SEO problems. No matter how stylish and awesome your landing page is, it means little if it's not optimized for mobile. So how do you convert a website so it's mobile friendly?
Basically, a mobile version of your site can be developed by reorganizing your desktop content elements into mobile-friendly ones. In this case, you're going to deliver a responsive web design that matches the desktop version. Additionally, you have some other options for creating a mobile-friendly site. They include:
- Canonical AMP. All your site's pages are created in AMP HTML, and the mobile version is the same as the desktop site.
- Separate URLs. Each desktop URL has a sister URL, an m-dot site that serves mobile-optimized content. Since Google prefers the mobile URL for indexing, follow these instructions to get ready.
- Dynamic serving. This approach keeps the same URL but changes the HTML. It employs user-agents to detect what kind of device is being used and dynamically switches the appropriate view.
- AMP and non-AMP. With this approach, a user sees two different URLs. Google favors the mobile version of the non-AMP URL for indexing. If your non-AMP mobile version uses dynamic serving or separate URLs, study these best practices to fix it.
- Desktop only. If your site only has a desktop version, there aren't going to be any changes. The mobile version will mirror the desktop version.
- Responsive web design. This is the most recommended website design method because it doesn't create two copies of one site – there's just one website. Online visitors only see one URL, and the website adapts as the user transitions between devices and screen sizes.
When do users see a website as mobile friendly?
From a viewer's perspective, a responsive website means a smooth experience. It's the same address and the same content, and it adjusts to the reader's device, providing an uninterrupted user experience.
Here are four additional tips for creating a mobile-friendly website and making it easily accessible:
- Add a clickable phone number so the consumer can quickly initiate a call right from the website page.
- If applicable, include a map to your office or store that can be opened in the consumer's preferred app.
- Use easy-to-click buttons and text. Ease your customers' anxiety by using legible text and big buttons that will improve overall user experience and increase conversions.
- Offer an option of using a keypad, not the full keyboard, when asking your users to fill out number fields on mobile forms. This will help your visitors save time and check out faster, without giving it a second thought.
A mobile-friendly website benefits everyone.
It may seem like Google just loves giving website managers more work. This mobile-first indexing, however, is a change for the good, and benefits webmasters, Google users, and marketers. Updating your website will accommodate how people research information and shop and will help them find what they're looking for faster. This eliminates friction and helps increase your company's conversions and profit. It's a win-win for everyone.