By Ranzie Anthony, Executive Creative Director of global design and technology agency Athlon

Why you should take note of Google

As you may or may not be aware, Google’s recent update implements a shift in its mobile search algorithm, boosting the rankings of mobile-optimised sites. The idea is that searchers will be able to find high-quality and relevant results on their phones more easily.

With smartphones increasingly the primary digital device for business users, this is of course having an impact on the ways in which people communicate and how business is done. We are now well past the mobile tipping point with the number of mobile users now exceeding those on desktop. Google, accordingly, is reflecting this in its algorithm. So if you don’t have a mobile-optimised site yet, now is definitely the time to start thinking about it.

Implementing a mobile strategy

If you are looking to promote your product or services online, you must consider the implications of mobile. Mobile browsing is now a must have, not an optional ‘nice to have.’ If you are planning to launch a new website, you will also need to create a tailored experience for mobile devices in order to meet the requirements of a business audience on the move. Key information to include is easy-to-find contact details, bite-sized information that can be digested quickly and content that is fast to download and shareable. The purpose of mobile is to present key information quickly and easily, compared to desktop environments which are much more suited to richer content.

As a brand, you are defined and assessed on the experience you provide rather than the way you look. By responding and adapting to the changing behaviour of your target audience you will remain competitive. A ‘mobile-first’ approach will encourage mobile visitors to stay on a website longer and engage with more of its content, and you will also be able to track visitors accessing contact and way-finding information.

Case study: Ragus

A real-life example of how a mobile-first strategy can transform a business’ online presence is Ragus, a UK sugar and syrup manufacturer. Having invested in a new state-of-the art multi-million pound factory, Ragus realised its existing online presence did not convey the global nature of its operations. The company wanted to improve engagement with senior product buyers and change existing perception from that of a small family-owned business to that of a global provider of specialist sugar products.

Lessons for a great mobile strategy

Here are some key lessons from Ragus’ redesign of its online presence:

1. Mobile first

Create a mobile-first strategy for your online communications because your business audience will want to engage with you via smartphones. Think about a responsive website that tailors the mobile experience to the needs of your target audience. Do they want to shop wherever they are? Then ensure that your mobile site can handle e-commerce transactions

2. Video storytelling

Use video as a core component of your online marketing. You can create engaging brand films to tell your company story: it’s an ideal way to communicate key information to a time-poor audience.

3. Create a ‘lite’ version

The mobile website should be much lighter than the full desktop version, so that it can more quickly, and it should provide targeted content and easy-to-find contact information.

4. A strong online presence

A solid web and mobile presence will bring your online brand up-to-date and reflect the different aspects of your business, your reach and your expertise. It changes perceptions of your business as a whole – in a good way.

5. Keep customers at the heart

Don’t lose sight of the most important thing – your customers. Your mobile-first strategy should always have your customers at the heart of it and deliver the material or functionality that they need.

The stats will tell you when you are getting these things right. Since its launch, Ragus’ website has had a 51% increase in traffic via mobile devices, with a 545% increase in first time visitors following the first six months of launch. It also ranks first in targeted organic Google search terms, with returning visitors spending 20% more time on the website than in the same period the year before.

As a result, the company has seen a 38% uplift in sales. For a company that never had a mobile-specific presence previously, it proves the benefits and importance of implementing a successful mobile strategy.