Get ready – Google’s making some changes.  

Google recently announced they’re rolling out several changes in the near future that ‘address’ misconfigured sites for smartphone users. And, that if your site isn’t functioning well for mobile visitors, you won’t rank as highly in the mobile search results.

This is huge. 59% of people only view the first page of search results on a mobile, unlike on desktops where they may go to the second page. So it’s more important than ever to offer your customers a great mobile experience.

Thinking Juice’s recent blog post, ignore mobile at our peril, discussed the growth of mobile and tablet devices. This post looks at why you need a mobile friendly site, how to create one and what people are searching for on their mobile.

Why do I need a mobile friendly site?

93% of people now access the internet via their mobile device every day in the UK. It’s imperative that you offer those users the best experience possible when they visit your site. You want them to keep returning, but if they keep hitting incorrect pages or small text that they have to continually zoom to read, they’ll leave very quickly.

In his blog post for SEO Moz, Cyrus Shepard explains how by creating a site that satisfies your customers, you can help to show Google that your site answers users’ queries and encourages them to visit time and time again.

What are people using mobiles to search for?

According to Google, people in the UK are searching from their mobiles in the following way:

  • 60% – product information.
  • 37% – restaurants.
  • 29% – travel.
  • 16% – jobs.
  • 16% – homes and housing information.

85% of mobile users have looked for local information and 81% of those people took action as a result. Be that contacting the business, visiting their website, writing reviews or recommendations or making a purchase online or in store.

Many users also ‘showroom’. This is the process of investigating a product while you are in a store to find the best price or read reviews.

If your website isn’t mobile friendly – you could be missing out. A lot.

How do I create a mobile friendly website?

There are several ways to approach building a mobile friendly website.

Responsive design.

Google has recommended this is the best way to make sure your site is mobile friendly. A responsively designed website changes shape and layout depending on the device you are viewing it from.

Responsive-example2

This method only uses one URL, ensuring that changes made to the site are seen across desktop and mobile, saving time and money in development. It also means you don’t need to worry about redirecting users to mobile-only pages or the issues around duplicate content if you have a desktop and mobile site. Unfortunately, responsive design won’t be within everyone’s reach, as it requires a total rebuild and redesign.

Mobile site.

Another option is to create a separate mobile site. This will also contain some elements of design and development, however, this can be limited to important pages and information that you need your customers to view.

Downsides to a separate mobile site are the complexities around duplicate content and ensuring that pages are redirected correctly and not to irrelevant pages.

For both of the above options you should ensure that you check page-loading speeds, and that all your media (videos etc.) are suitable for viewing on smartphones. These are common mistakes that can lead to an unhappy experience for mobile visitors.

SEO in the new mobile world.

Make sure your website is optimised for local searching, is relevant to other search terms and that users find it interesting and easy to use/navigate. If you have a separate mobile site, you should shorten your page titles and meta descriptions to 50–60 characters, due to the smaller screens.

Three more top tips:

  • Faulty redirects – don’t redirect users from a mobile friendly homepage to non-mobile friendly deeper pages.
  • Don’t show mobile users a 404 error if you don’t have a mobile friendly page, serve them the desktop page instead, this may not be ideal but at least you are not restricting their user journey.
  • Make sure your page-load speeds are quick. Very quick.

The best mobile experience possible.

It’s important to offer your customers the best mobile experience you can, otherwise not only will you lose customers to your competitors, but you’ll also notice decreases in your mobile rankings.

All businesses should seriously consider a mobile friendly website. It’s what users expect. When creating a new site at Thinking Juice, we ensure that responsive design or mobile sites are at the forefront of our response.

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