How to Be Mobile-Friendly for Online Success

June 19, 2017

Young man walking through airport looking at his smartphone and smiling

Google is making mobile-friendliness a priority, so it has to be a priority for businesses seeking online success—but why? Put simply, very few people wait until they are in front of a desktop computer to do a search. Today, there’s a mobile computer in almost every pocket, so why would they wait? They won’t–they’ll find the sites that are mobile-friendly.

According to Google, users in 10 countries, including the U.S., do the bulk of their searches via mobile devices.  Companies with non-responsive websites – ones that only work on computers or laptops – are losing out. Mobile technology is taking over the computer industry, so mobile search readiness is the true key to success.

What Does It Mean to be Mobile-Friendly?

If you know that most people visiting business websites these days do so on a smartphone, the term mobile-friendly makes more sense. It means a website that is readable and immediately available on a mobile screen. Older website designs may work on a small mobile screen, but the print and graphics are tiny and unreadable. Consumers have low tolerance levels when doing online searches, research or shopping, so tiny print is not going to cut it.

The website must also work well on operating systems found on mobile devices. Mobile optimization allows websites to load almost immediately.

In the Age of Mobilegeddon

Mobilegeddon is a clever name assigned to the Google algorithm change that made mobile responsiveness a priority. In the age of Mobilegeddon, mobile-friendly websites rank first. What this means for business owners is that the competition gets a slot above you in search engine rankings, just for having a website that works well on mobile devices. Put another way, you rank lower than everyone else for not having a website that responds to mobile devices. This is what’s described as the “mobile-first index.”

Keep in mind that Google is going to downgrade websites with elements, such as Flash, that slow down the loading process on mobile. Mobile devices don’t support it, so it throws a cog into loading these pages even if they work on a mobile screen.

Getting to the Top

Success online is in large part determined by getting to the top—that is, the top of the SERPs (search engine results page). How do you get there? When it comes to local searches and website traffic, pay attention to mobile SEO and UX optimization to ensure your pages meet the standards of the mobile-first index.

How mobile-friendly is your site? When setting up pages, look for templates that are responsive or adaptive, for example, so you know the site will load as fast as possible on smartphones.  Double-check your loading times, too. The average loading time for top sites is 1.10 seconds. As soon as your page drops down to 1.17 seconds, you lose ranking!

Add the extras, like AMPs, to get the most bang for your mobile buck. Accelerated mobile pages help not just with search rankings but also with click-through-rates. It also means fast validation for pages and it makes them easy for Google to find.

AMPs consist of three parts designed to improve mobile response:

  • AMP JS

Responsive vs. Adaptive

In the world of mobile optimization, you often hear these two terms used interchangeably, but they do mean different things. Responsive indicates the website layout changes based on the size of the screen. A user will see one layout when accessing the site on an 11-inch laptop and a different one when visiting the page on a 4.7-inch mobile screen.

Adaptive is a little different. Adaptive picks a layout based on the screen size. An adaptive template has different layouts in order to fit different screen sizes. It reads the user’s device information and loads the appropriate screen. Either format is good for most companies, although responsive designs tend to slow things down a bit.

It’s no longer a question of whether you need a mobile-friendly website – that’s a given. If you want success online, then mobile-friendly is the only way to go. For help making sure your site is mobile-friendly, fast and responsive, our experts have an arsenal of tools to make your site is super-competitive, and very mobile-friendly.

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