Mobile Responsiveness: Google’s New #1
I remember watching Inspector Gadget as a kid (yes, I’m that old) and watching Penny talk to her Uncle on a wristwatch. I thought, “man, wouldn’t it be cool to be able to talk to people like that anywhere, any time?” Little did I know what the future would bring (or that Maxwell Smart had been making mobile calls from his Oxfords since the 1960s). Today, we live in a world where people can call, conduct research, download books, and even work all through the mobile power of smartphones.
In Q3 2020, over 50% of website visits happened through mobile devices. That means over half the people who see your site are looking at it on a phone or tablet (or Penny’s watch), and if your site isn’t mobile responsive, you’re losing out on more than half of your leads. As if that isn’t reason enough to have a mobile responsive website, Google penalizes websites’ search engine ranks (SER) for providing a poor mobile experience (their upcoming 2021 algorithm change makes this penalty even more severe).
“Mobile Responsive” is probably the most important term you need to look for when choosing a web developer for your company’s website. If your site isn’t mobile responsive, it might as well be a billboard…
What Mobile Responsive Means
Here’s the really simple answer: Mobile Responsive websites function well on mobile devices. They look good, load quickly, and are easy for users to interact with.
Have you ever loaded a site on your phone, only to see images didn’t load and text overlapped in places? That’s a pretty common example of a non-mobile responsive page. It was built specifically for PC use and isn’t able to adjust to the viewing and overall user experience on a mobile device.
Why Mobile Responsiveness Matters
Mobile device usage is on the rise, and thanks to COVID-19 more businesses than ever are pushing their entire business models to online services. This means more businesses creating ecommerce websites, built specifically to sell directly through mobile devices.
In order for a customer to make a purchase on their smart phone or tablet, the image needs to load clearly, the interactive buttons need to be spaced specifically for mobile interaction, and the loading time needs to be low to keep their attention and trust. Many sites built without an eye toward mobile responsiveness can’t meet these requirements, and they cost you valuable leads and conversions.
Mobile Responsiveness Affects Your SER
Google’s search algorithm is largely a mystery, but the digital giant has been kind enough to give us some insight into how it ranks websites on its search engine. However convoluted their algorithm may be, we do know they primarily use the mobile version of a website’s content in order to rank the site (and all of its subpages) in search results.
Even if you’ve got the world’s sexiest, most engaging website on someone’s laptop, Google looks right past it, making “Googly” eyes at its mobile version. If your site isn’t Mobile Responsive, Google will look right past you and find another site instead.
Mobile Responsive Sites Are More Likely to Catch a Captive Audience
Over 75% of Americans polled admitted to using their mobile devices while sitting on the toilet, while 96% of Americans under 23 reported they wouldn’t go to the bathroom without their phone. While those “under 23 year-old” Americans may not be your business’s target audience right now, there’s a good chance they will be over the next five-ten years.
Ensuring your site is mobile responsive lets you target an audience while they are at their most relaxed (hopefully) and vulnerable, just one more reason to make it your #1 priority.
Note: If you’re in toilet paper sales, this is a golden opportunity for PPC Advertising.
How to Make Sure Your Site is Mobile Responsive
Loading your page on your smart phone or tablet will give you an idea, but to find out if you fall within Google’s preferred parameters you need to run a Mobile Responsive site audit. You can find basic free versions on sites like WebCEO and SEMRush, though they can be difficult to navigate if you don’t know exactly what you are doing.
Your best bet is almost always to reach out to a Digital Marketing Agency that performs free SEO / Website audits. They can provide you a simple, free report on your site (and often a more in-depth one for a fee) to tell you exactly where your site stands on Mobile Responsiveness. If you’re in the Cookeville or Upper Cumberland area, reach out to AE Digital Marketing. We’ll not only provide you a report on your website’s status, but we’ll also give you some basic ideas on how to improve its SER and Mobile Responsiveness.
You can also sign up for May’s Level-Up Webinar here. This month, Andrew Elliott will touch on mobile responsiveness, specifically as it relates to developing new websites.