Love it or hate it, smartphones are here to stay. That’s why it’s so important for brands to have mobile-friendly websites. If you don’t, then you’re potentially missing out on 63% of US Google traffic. We know you don’t want that, so we’re going over mobile friendliness, why it’s important, and how you can test your own website for it. Let’s get started.
Have you ever opened a website on your phone, only to angrily tap the screen about 100 times before it loads? We’ve all been there. That site is not mobile-friendly.
A mobile-friendly website is a website that is designed to run smoothly on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Outside of processing power – especially for older phones – the biggest difference is screen size. Everything you see on a computer screen needs to be responsive to a wide array of mobile device screen sizes.
So, other than sparing your phone screen from rage clicks, why is all this important?
We know it’s hard to believe, but mobile devices are pretty popular nowadays. So popular in fact that even Google has taken notice. It’s actually rapidly becoming standard practice. Can you believe it?
Sarcasm aside, mobile-friendly websites are the new normal. Responsive web design has made mobile optimization more straight forward and accessible to everyone, and that means users expect high levels functionality when browsing on their mobile devices.
If your website takes too long to load, or isn’t easy to use, your customers will drop like flies. On top of that, having a mobile-friendly website brings with it several key advantages, including improved visibility, user experience, and lead generation.
It’s no secret that Google likes mobile devices. It even publicly stated that mobile phones are an important ranking signal and dropped its first mobile-first update in 2016.
Fast forward to today, and Google’s Helpful Content Update only deepens Google’s love of all things mobile. This update announced that Google would be prioritizing user experience. The team at Google has even explicitly stated they take variables such as “…spelling, stylistic, or factual errors” into consideration. In terms of mobile devices, this means that having a well-designed and technically-sound website was more important than ever, especially if you want to improve your mobile SEO performance.
All this means one thing: mobile friendliness means improved search visibility.
We mentioned user experience in the above section, but it’s so important that it needs to be said twice.
Users will leave your website if it doesn’t load on their phone or if it is too complicated to use. In general, the average bounce rate for mobile is 52.1%, meaning over half of your users will leave your website without interacting with it. Thankfully, you can give yourself a fighting chance by making your website mobile-friendly.
You can improve user experience and accessibility by boosting technical health and page speed.
Happy users are more likely to turn into happy customers.
Consumers in every industry want to get what they’re looking for quickly. The quickest option available to them is usually in their purse or pocket – their phone. If you’re not optimized for mobile, you can’t offer your customers immediate service, and therefore lose out on potential leads or sales. Users have clearly defined expectations and directions that are designed for whatever device they are using to browse your website. If these expectations are not met, users are far more likely to take their business to a competitor’s site. Look at key indicators of how users interact with your site by reviewing some of these website metrics:
We don’t have a crystal ball, but one thing is for certain: mobile websites are only going to become more important. Technology is rapidly evolving to always be at your fingertips and your business needs to do the same.
Some SEOs are worried about mobile-friendly sites as Google’s recent change to Search Console seems to make it an obsolete ranking factor. However, this is not the case. Google states:
“Also starting December 1, 2023, we’ll be retiring Search Console’s “Mobile Usability” report, the Mobile-Friendly Test tool and Mobile-Friendly Test API. This doesn’t mean that mobile usability isn’t important for success with Google Search. It remains critical for users, who are using mobile devices more than ever, and as such, it remains a part of our page experience guidance.”
The update is simply that: an update to an outdated system. Google is relying on new tools and metrics that Search Console does not have, such as Lighthouse from Chrome, which is an open-source, automated tool for gaining valuable insights into the quality of web core vitals of a page.
In other words, Google understands the need to update how they rank mobile-friendly websites to keep up with the new technology on the market. This trend will likely continue for decades to come.
Testing your website for mobile friendliness is easy. Pull out your phone or tablet and search for your website. See how it loads, how it functions, if it’s easy to read, and simple to use. Another option is Google Chromes Lighthouse insights. If you want to get more technical, which we recommend, you can try using GTMetrix, a page speed tool with Lighthouse integration.
If you want to fix what you found, that gets a little more complicated. Let us do the heavy lifting for you. Contact us and we’ll get your mobile website up and running smoothly for your customers to enjoy.