It's Time to Get Your Business Friendly With Your Mobile

Netmatters Ltd
Posted by Netmatters Ltd
4th March 2015
93% of internet traffic starts with a search engine* 
(*Source: Forester)

This simple statistic is why Google has spent many years and countless $billions making sure it is the first place people go to when searching for something on the internet.

43million* - the predicted number of smartphone users in the UK by 2017 (*Source: Statista)

On 26 February 2015, Google announced that having a mobile-friendly website will now be considered as another ranking factor for searches conducted on a mobile. These two statistics combined is why you should take steps now to ensure that your site is as accessible as possible across every platform.

This update will not be implicated until 21 April, which means there is still time to update your website so it is responsive across all devices. It has been made clear by Google that this is a change aimed at improving search for users on a mobile device only and does not affect desktop or tablet searches. That being said, we would not be entirely surprised if we saw movement in desktop Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), post 21 April. There is some speculation that mobile friendly rankings may impact desktop SERP rankings in future.

With 61% of adults in the UK now owning a smartphone*, the bottom line is that smartphone usage and functionality is only going to increase in the coming years - if your business website does not embrace this now, you are in danger of being left behind in the race for ranking superiority among your competitors. (*Source: Ofcom.org.uk)

How Mobile is Becoming More Important Than Ever

Retail giant Shop Direct recently ceased the production of its paper catalogue, going completely digital. Profits have risen by 78% since taking this drastic decision, with mobile traffic now accounting for 59% of all sales across their web presence. Overall mobile sales have risen by 51% year-on-year, which is clear cut proof that the mobile market now represents a huge opportunity to gain sales. Mobile devices being used more than ever to browse the web and they offer huge advantages in terms of personalisation and their always on-nature, with phones and mobile tech becoming closer, more attached and more important to consumers than any other piece of technology.

Shop Direct have attributed their success to personalisation, branding and big data. Personalisation and big data are things that could not be achieved without their mobile market, with a significant proportion of their traffic arriving through mobile. Mobile is allowing Shop Direct to get closer to their consumers than ever before, which is showing clear increases in profitability and retention. The fact that they have recently opted for a digital-only approach allows them to focus on mobile innovation and on improving the mobile experience of their customers, which seems to be proving very effective. 

A "mobile first" strategy however is not exclusive to Shop Direct, with the obvious benefits of improving your mobile customer experience being something every business can enjoy. Making an experience that is tailored to each and every customer is a way to see your sales and retention increase by a considerable margin. Personalisation makes your consumers engage with your brand more often and more effectively, so if you are not doing so already then it is the perfect time to improve your mobile experience. Soon it will not be an advantage, but a competitive necessity to have a personalised, optimised mobile experience on your website. 

Source:  Shop Direct

What Is A Mobile Friendly Website?

In Google’s words, a site is mobile friendly site if it:

  • Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices (ie. Flash)
  • Uses text that is readable without zooming in
  • Sizes content to the screen so user do not have to scroll horizontally or zoom
  • Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped

Use Google’s free Mobile Site Test today to see if your site measures up

What Does It Mean If My Site Is Not Mobile Friendly?

If your website is not mobile-friendly, the likely outcome is that you will see a drop in the SERPs and you should expect competitors that have invested in a mobile site to start to obtain higher rankings for keyword terms that you may have previously ranked for.

Who your businesses target audience is, will of course influence the proportion of mobile users to your site (a clothing brand aimed at teenagers is likely to have a higher proportion of smartphone users, than a website offering coach holidays to retired people). If your website only experiences a low proportion of mobile users (less than 5%), then it may not be a cost effective measure for you at this point in time.

What Can I Do To Make My Site Mobile Friendly?

Making a site mobile friendly requires a degree of technical expertise and is not something that can be undertaken through a website  content management system. The effort involved will vary from website to website and will depend on its size, complexity and the functions that it performs. A basic, static website will be easier and relatively quick to update versus a website that features more advanced functionality such as a quote generation tool.

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