By Nick Keating, VP, EMEA, Maxymiser

With mobile use now dominating the market and becoming the primary route to the Internet for up to 77% of users*, you can see why Google has tailored its latest algorithm to reward sites that are optimised for mobile use. Within the new changes introduced by Google, businesses that have ‘mobile friendly’ sites will now rank higher up on Google’s search pages, effectively making them more visible to web visitors than those that aren’t optimised for mobile devices.

This change will put significant pressure on organisations who have yet to optimise for mobile. If increasing customer demand has not been enough of an incentive over recent years, then these punitive measures Google has introduced should be. However, these businesses should also recognise the opportunity associated with making their desktop website mobile friendly; many lessons have been learned by web developers and businesses alike as to the best route to take for the mobile web — from responsive design, to mobile apps and a combination of both.

One key lesson learned is that, to engage the mobile customer, organisations need to understand the why and the where - and respond accordingly. Since over four fifths (81%) of mobile searches are driven by ‘speed and convenience’¹ it is essential to deliver the right, most usable, mobile experience. For example, reducing the check-out process from three pages to two, even one, have proven to deliver a massive uplift in conversion and will also score you points with the new algorithm.

In addition, we’ve learned that in the mobile market, personalisation and the delivery of highly targeted, relevant content is essential. Yet given the constraints of the devices, organisations do not have the luxury of providing vast amounts of content and hoping that something sticks. And that means not only collecting user information to gain customer insight, but continually testing content not only to optimise performance and improve response but, critically, check the quality of user experience. It is great to be at the top of the Google search but if your customer still doesn’t enjoy the experience, it’s a failed effort.

But businesses must not forget that although a relevant mobile experience is paramount, the successful business of the future will be as channel agnostic as the consumer is today. The customer does not see channels; the customer simply considers the brand and chooses to interact with that brand through a variety of desktop and mobile devices, in a variety of locations and at various times of the day. Their expectation is to always receive a consistent and seamless brand experience.

Mobile will be a portion of the overall customer experience — not all of it.

If the changes to the Google algorithm indicate anything, it is the increased significance of this channel. As such, organisations must understand that mobile is not a cut down version of traditional web; the mobile customer has different motives and behaviours to the desktop user, and one size does not fit all.