By Camille Palluat De Besset, Network Director at Tradedoubler
Everybody is talking about “Mobilegeddon”, but what does it really mean for you and your business? Mobile is hot on the agenda now, more than ever before: Google estimates that 50 per cent of searches conducted on its own engine come from mobile devices. In fact research revealed that the average number of mobile devices per person ranged from four to seven devices. Furthermore UK adults will spend an average of two hours, 26 minutes each day with mobile devices this year, up 27 minutes from 2014, and an almost fivefold increase from 2011, when that figure stood at just 31 minutes. With these sort of staggering figures it is clear that mobile is a game changer in the purchase journey. The advent of the Mobile Search Algorithm means that new SEO strategies must take into account “mobile friendliness” in order for online businesses to stay competitive.
Appropriately dubbed “Mobilegeddon” or “Mobilepocalypse,” Google’s mobile algorithm allows mobile-friendly sites to get a boost in search rankings, while sites with usability issues on mobile devices will significantly drop in ranking. Google’s algorithm will apply its mobile grading system to the websites of large brands and publishers alike, affecting mobile searches in all languages worldwide. Those that remember the launch of the Panda algorithm, will take heed and optimise rather than stay vulnerable. So here are five steps to get your website optimised for mobile:
Step 1: Do a quick search
If you manage a website I recommend that you check whether it is “mobile-friendly” by going on to Google on your mobile, and entering your URL in the search bar. If the “m” mobile tag does not appear beneath your URL in the search results, your site needs to be updated.
Step 2: Test your site
If you want to see if your site is mobile compliant use the Mobile-Friendly Test provided by Google Developers which allows a Googlebot to perform a quick background check on the functionality. If your site fails, it will need to be updated. If it passes, it may still need to be optimised before earning the “m” mobile tag mentioned above. I recommend using Google’s Page Speed Insights for further details on how to optimise your website to improve your page ranking.
Step 3: Follow the mobile user friendly rules
Make your website mobile friendly by avoiding the following mistakes:
• Text which is too small and requires zooming in to read
• Pages which are unresponsive; content does not automatically fit the screen, users have to scroll horizontally or zoom
• Small call-to-action buttons which are not large enough to be activated by the touch of a finger
• Software that might not be supported on mobile devices (such as Flash)
• Links placed too close together
Step 4: Configure your site in the right way
Choose the best method to configure your site to make it mobile ready such as responsive web design, dynamic serving or separate URLs. For further information take a look at Google’s Mobile-Friendly guide which goes into more detail about what to avoid.
Step 5: Make it a priority
Your mobile SEO strategy needs to be a priority as your site is being downgraded in Google's search rankings right now if you haven’t optimised your website for mobile. Sites that do not optimise their pages for mobile searches will move down the search rankings, the good news is that desktop and tablet rankings will remain intact.
For customers it is all about added value and user experience. It is important that your site is mobile friendly, not only because Google says so, but because it is important to offer customers a site that meets their needs and expectations when they use their mobile. Research found that consumers are using mobile devices to complete tasks from start to finish more and more. When looking at the purchase journey, 50 per cent of consumers are now using their mobile devices to start the search process, and 46 per cent used mobile exclusively when performing research online. Our own research shows that nearly half of respondents (47 per cent) turn to their smartphone to compare prices, just to make sure they get the best deal, and around three in ten (29 per cent) go on to buy. This means that if you are not optimising your website for mobile, you could potentially be losing 46 per cent of your sales. So it’s simple, follow these five steps, make your website mobile friendly, and brands and publishers will be on the right path for increasing sales and gaining brand advocates.