In today’s age of smartphones and high-end mobile devices, having mobile-friendly websites is essential to the ongoing success of your business. With more and more people turning to use mobile devices, the ability to see your website correctly can make the difference between a potential customer staying on your website or going to your competitor’s website.
Why are mobile-friendly websites so important to your business? Well, starting in early 2015 search engines such as Google starting using the mobile-friendliness of a website as a way to rank websites – if your website is not mobile-friendly, it can now be penalised in the search engine rankings.
So having mobile-friendly websites is now more important than ever when it comes to SEO and getting ranked in Google.
Things To Look For In Mobile-Friendly Website Design
Often, you can quickly tell if a website doesn’t have a mobile-friendly design – the text is small, you have to scroll sideways to see all the information and the links are small and are difficult to click on. If you come across a website like this, you’d probably click back to your original search and look for another business’ website that is easier to use.
You also don’t want images and text overlapping so that content is difficult to see clearly. In addition to this, if your potential customers can’t click on your links or easily click to other pages, they are likely to leave your website.
How easy your website is to use is very important, so we’ve provided more information on this below.
Passing the Mobile Friendly Test
One of the difficulties of owning a website was knowing whether or not it was mobile-friendly. While it might look good on the latest smartphone, your customers on a tablet device may really struggle to see the website properly.
Readability is a big thing when it comes to building a mobile-friendly website design. A website that is specifically designed for mobile devices will be easy to read, with no need to scroll from side to side, or zoom in or zoom out to read the information, or click on the links. As soon as your customers need to do this, they will start clicking off your website and into your competitors’ websites.
Many older websites were designed for clicking on links on each page with a mouse on a large computer screen. Once scaled down to fit on a mobile device, you need to ensure these links are still accessible, and that they aren’t located too closely together.
How often have you gone to a website that is not mobile responsive, and had to scroll left to right to read each paragraph, and zoom in to click the correct links on a page?
It is easy to get frustrated when you can’t easily get the information you want, especially when on a mobile device, so it’s easy to understand that your potential customers will start clicking back off your website and onto another if your site is not user-friendly.
So, just how do you pass the test? The first step is to use the Google Mobile Friendly Test found within Google itself. The test is free to use and will let you know if your website is mobile-friendly or not. If it turns out your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you may notice a decrease in web traffic, however, once it has been upgraded, search engines will automatically re-scan your webpages, and hopefully bump you back up in the rankings.
Options When Updating You Website Design
A big keyword when choosing a great mobile website design is responsiveness. This means that your website responds to the type of device being used. These generally look better on mobile devices because columns, images, and the general layout can change to suit the device. But how do you go about choosing the best mobile website design while keeping your non-mobile device customers happy?
There are generally only two real options in creating a mobile-friendly website design for your business and of course, each has its pros and cons.
- Creating an entirely unique website for mobile devices (these will commonly be seen with the ‘m.’ prefix to the URL, such as m.website.com):
- Designed specifically for mobile device screens (PRO)
- Uses a smaller amount of bandwidth to allow for faster loading of information (PRO)
- You have to maintain two websites (CON)
- You must conduct SEO on both your desktop and mobile websites (CON)
- Duplicate content which can affect your rankings in search engines (CON)
- Re-designing your existing website to auto-adjust (responsive) to various devices:
- One website which is able to adapt to different devices (PRO)
- It is relatively easy to find suitable responsiveWordPress themes. The majority of all new WordPress themes are mobile responsive (PRO)
- Site can be slower to load (CON)
- If you have ads, sliders or other customisations on your website, these can break (CON)
There are many places to turn when looking to update your website to a mobile-friendly website design; finding a good web designer is key, especially one who knows the ins and outs of website design and search engine specifications.
What Other Factors Affect Website SEO?
Tools such as the Google Mobile Friendly Test make it easy for website owners to check whether they pass Google’s rules. And while having a mobile-friendly website is very important to every small local business SEO, it is not the only factor that is measured by the search engines when ranking your page and site.
With the increased use of mobile devices, there are other factors that the search engines also look at when deciding if your site is going to provide visitors with a good user experience.
One of the main areas that search engines pay particular attention to when testing your website is the page loading speed.
Page speed is one of the main components that will affect the user experience when viewing websites on a mobile device and therefore can greatly affect your rankings. Mobile internet speed can be a lot slower and download limits can be more expensive than on a desktop computer. Slow loading will result in users leaving your website before they have viewed anything, resulting in a poor user experience.
There are many things you can do to speed up your page loading speed, so if you find that your website is suffering from poor performance, you can improve performance by minimising the code, optimising images, and using a CDN to improve page loading times, among other things.
Some of the aspects to speed up your website are quite technical, so make sure that you speak to an expert website designer so they can conduct a thorough in-depth analysis and recommend changes.
Things like flash and pop-ups are often not well received on mobile devices, so staying away from these can help your rankings as a mobile-friendly website.
Other factors such as the bounce rate and time on page are monitored by the search engines, so improving the user experience and optimising these metrics on both mobile and desktop devices can also help your rankings.
And then, of course, there is keyword optimisation. Keywords are what people type into the search engines to find information they are looking for. So you have to make sure that your site contains keywords and keyword phrases that people will be using.
Keyword optimisation and SEO are large topics, so if you are interested in this, please have a look at our post on how to create a website that is search engine friendly.
Small SEO Tweaks Can Help Your Rankings
You can create a website with all the necessary information, but that does not necessarily mean that you will rank. With just a few tweaks, you can make it really stand out from the crowd.
Remember, if you aren’t high up in the search engine listings (and preferably in the first few spots for your main keywords), then there is a good chance that your website will not be seen. And a website that can’t be seen in the search engines is often no better than a fancy business card.
And with the increase of mobile devices, there are now some extra steps that you have to take so that you stay ahead of your competition. Now is a great opportunity for many small business owners to make changes to their websites… many small business websites have not taken advantage of the new requirements, allowing others to leap-frog their competition. But as knowledge grows, competition for rankings will only get more fierce. With situations like this, it is always better to not get complacent and to stay in front of the curve, rather than playing catch-up.
Mobile-friendly websites are essential in today’s business age; for help getting your website mobile-friendly, reach out to us. We can help you make your business website responsive on mobile devices which, in turn, will help you stay on top of your website ranking.
So if you need help with small business SEO, make sure that you contact us.