The chances are you're reading this article on your phone or tablet. If so, you're not alone. More and more people are using their smartphones or tablets to search for products, services and articles online. In fact, a recent study by BrightEdge in America showed that up to 57% of website traffic comes from smartphones and tablets. Meaning it's now more important than ever to optimise for mobile.
While this study was carried out in the U.S, it's a growing trend across the globe; including here in the UK. We have also noticed that many of our clients' websites are showing the same trend in Analytics.
As you can see from the image to the left, this client's website receives more visits from mobile phones alone than it does from desktop computers. When combined with tablets, it has over a 60% share of the searches compared to that of the desktop.
Why it's now more important than ever to optimise for mobile
The answer is simple. With more and more people using their phones and tablet devices to search for companies and products, if your website isn't optimised for this, you're going to lose out to your competitors.
Given the internet is continually adapting and improving, standing still is the worst thing you can do for your business. In this mobile-obsessed world we now live in, it's not going to be too long before over 75% of internet users are on mobiles and tablets. So make sure you don't get left behind.
Customers will be put off by old and hard-to-use websites
The best way to avoid this is by making it 'responsive'. In a nutshell, this means that the website will tailor itself to suit whatever device is viewing it. For example, if your customer is viewing your site on an iPhone, the site will be formatted to perfectly fit the screen size. This means no side scrolling or zooming in and out to find what they need! This makes them far more likely to stick around on your site and improve the chances of them purchasing from you or getting in touch!
So therefore, you're left with a choice. Improve the ease of which your website visitors can use the site and increase the chances of conversions and sales or stick with your static site and risk losing out to your competitors.
Google is now prioritising responsive websites
While you may rank well for a wide range of keywords at the moment, your static website may soon lose out compared to competitors with responsive websites. Google has already started favouring responsive websites that can be easily read and used on any device and browser. This isn't as simple as just dropping static sites, however. Instead, they will be giving responsive websites priority over their static rivals. Meaning that if you stick with a static site, you may notice your competitors going above you in the rankings if they have responsive sites.
Many businesses across the UK are already starting to see this having an effect. It's no surprise given the recent 'Mobile First Indexing' update Google rolled out recently too.
The Mobile-First Indexing update focuses solely on mobile usage
Earlier this year, Google started rolling out its 'Mobile-First Indexing' update. Focusing solely on mobile versions of websites, Google wanted to improve the results of mobile-friendly websites when users searched on mobile devices. Instead of showing the results based on the desktop versions of sites, they started ranking websites based on mobile versions.
Quite simply, they're doing this because of the increase in mobile searches. Every year, more and more people are carrying out searches on their mobile phones. Essentially, this means that more people will need to look at a mobile-friendly website rather than a desktop site on their phone. Therefore, if your website isn't mobile-friendly, Google will not rank it as highly. You could also then miss out on potential customers and sales too.
If you'd like to know more, feel free to read our initial coverage of the mobile-first indexing update back in April this year.
Mobile vs desktop queries produce vastly different rankings as a result
The BrightEdge study we referenced earlier didn't just look at how much traffic came from mobile devices. They also studied whether mobile and desktop queries produced different results. And the results were remarkable.
Their report states that:
"The same query on the same search engine generated different rank in mobile and desktop 79% of the time. The variability was also visible when analysing just the top 20 rank positions at only 47% of keywords generating different rank on different devices."
This highlights just how vital optimising for mobile searches is becoming. It's all well and good having a beautifully designed website but if it's not designed with mobile and tablet searches in mind, it's not going to be as successful as you need it to be. However, don't fall into the trap of just optimising for mobile and nothing else.
It's important to optimise for all possible formats
While more and more people are searching on their mobile phones and tablets, the chances of having full saturation are very slim. There are always going to be some people using their desktop computers to browse the internet. This will never change. Therefore, while it's important to optimise for mobile, you should also make sure your website is optimised for desktop too.
If you have a responsive website, you'll be covered for all eventualities. A responsive website will be tailored and optimised to suit any device; be it a desktop computer, laptop, mobile or tablet device. This is the best way forward for all small and medium business owners wanting to take advantage of the tech-savvy world we live in these days.
At the Smart Domain Group, we specialise in responsive web design. Combining this with comprehensive search engine optimisation, we generate the very best results for our clients. If you want a website that looks great, works on any device and is correctly optimised, look no further. Speak to our expert team today on 01634 810600 to find out how we can help you.
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