Article

Gemma Shannon
Gemma Shannon 2 April 2015

Mobile Optimised Sites To Rule The Mobile SERP'S!

Big developments are underway at Google to take effect from April 21st which will impact your business if you do not have a mobile optimised site.

Big developments are underway at Google which will come to fruition over the next couple of weeks.



On April 21st, according to TheNextWeb.com the search engine giant is set to rank your site higher, in the mobile search engine results if it is mobile friendly, as well as surface app results much higher. So what will the implications of this be for your business website if you do not have a mobile optimised site? Could it be that your site will disappear from the mobile SERP’s altogether? It remains to be seen what the exact impact on business websites will be until 21st April.

Google’s Motivation

Bear in mind that the SERPs for desktop/laptops remain unaffected according to Jill Kocher. Google maintains that its aim is to help users find higher quality results which is their motivation behind the new move. According to TheNextWeb.com Google will also start to use more information from indexed Android apps as a factor when ranking search results for users that are signed-in and have the app installed.

According to Jill Kocher, since Google would have no access to Apple’s iTunes database, iOS apps would not be included in this app ranking improvement.

Although, Google started highlighting mobile friendly sites in results last year, this new development is much more wide reaching. It will certainly spur brands that do not already have an m. site into action in terms of developing a mobile friendly site for their business.

User Experience

Think about it. Users get frustrated when they land on a business website while using their smartphone and the site isn’t optimised for mobile. They may want to find out about the products you are selling but they have difficulty panning, zooming or scrolling on your site and the buttons are so tiny it is almost impossible for them to access them.

You can determine the current impact of not having a mobile optimised site yourself, even before Google introduces the changes due on 21st April, by checking your Google Analytics for traffic coming from mobile. If it is negligible, then you already have a problem. How much business are you already losing by not having a mobile optimised site?

Responsive Design

You could consider implementing responsive design on your website which allows the desktop version of your site to adapt to the mobile screen while retaining the integrity of your content. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, Strike Gold with Winning Web Design, Joomla and WordPress (Content Management Systems) offer a variety of Responsive templates to web designers which will allow you to effectively manage the process.

Nifty Little Tool!

Google Developers have a great tool which you can use to test how mobile friendly your current site is. You can access the tool here. Simply enter the URL of your website and click on ‘analyse’. You might be more than a little surprised by the results.

 

Tips from Google

Google offers some great tips on how to build a mobile optimised website in this post. Tips include; 

  • Keep Calls to action front and centre of the screen
  • Use your logo as a navigation button to return to the home page
  • Place your site search near the top of the homepage via an open text field
  • Offer filters to help users find what they need from search, but make sure users can’t filter a search to zero results.

According to Jill Kocher, branded keyword searches e.g. Forestgreen Hotel, Wicklow should still return results for your website in the mobile SERP’s after 21st April, however searches executed on generic keywords e.g. Hotel in Wicklow, will not return any results for your business if your website is not mobile optimised.

Watch out for your Competitors!

If you are hesitating at this point and still need convincing about whether you need to develop a mobile friendly site, think about this – you may not develop a mobile friendly website, but what if your competitors do? You need to think outside the box and consider the wider implications for your business. The latest Consumer Barometer results from Google, show smartphone usage at 68% in the UK and 57% in the US. Smartphone usage is increasing month on month.

The Rise of the ‘Phablet’

The design of smartphones is also being driven by increased engagement . A ‘phablet’ is a cross between a phone and tablet and according to Venture Beat ‘phablets are poised to eventually replace tablets and regular smartphones.’ This has wider implications for businesses in that they may soon have to take a new form of ‘mobile screen’ into consideration in terms of their website design – the ‘phablet.’

It’s a ‘Mobile World’

It seems as if the days of websites destined only for desktops are at an end. The world has gone mobile and consumers are accessing brand websites from their mobiles and tablets at home and ‘on the go.’ Consumers want information to be instantly accessible, wherever they are and whatever they happen to be doing – whether this is surfing the Net while commuting to work or relaxing in the pub with a few friends after work. With this latest development from Google, the importance of having a mobile friendly site takes on even greater urgency than ever before.

 

About Author:
Gemma Shannon - Marketing Specialist and Digital Coordinator

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