Building Blocks of a Mobile Friendly Site

respGoogle recently announced plans to roll out ‘several ranking changes‘ that will favour mobile-friendly websites in order to ‘improve the search experience for smartphone users‘.

With these upcoming changes in mind, now would be a good time to take stock of the mobile-friendly nature (or not) of your website. In this article we will describe the basics of a mobile-friendly site, and share how you can go about improving the experience for your smartphone users.

Why Go Mobile?

The simple answer is that mobile is what (and where) your customers are. This is no longer exclusively the case for localised ‘on-the-go’ type searches – Google says that 77% of smartphone searches now occur at home or work (where a desktop or laptop would be present – users are preferring to search on their smartphones).

As potential customers increasingly search on their smaller screens, you’ll want to ensure that their experience in getting to your site (ie. by ranking higher because of your mobile-friendly site) and once they get there, is as easy and enjoyable as possible.

Where Do I Begin?

If your website is built on one of the major CMS platforms, then upgrading to a mobile friendly site can be a fairly painless process. Google has put together a number of guides and a mobile-friendly test that will help you through the process.

If it looks like your site is a bit more complex you will want to consult with your web designers/developers and discuss the best approach. Essentially a mobile site will take the existing sections of content from the site and display them in a mobile-friendly pattern/layout. Whilst that may sound simple, the amount of work required to produce a truly effective and efficient mobile-friendly site can vary wildly depending on the type of website, the design, and the goals of the site.

Customer First

Behind the growth of mobile-friendly websites, and part of the reason Google is beginning to prioritise this area, is the fact that users increasingly expect their smartphones to do whatever their desktops or laptops can do.

So the goal of your site should be to make things easier for your mobile customers. A good mobile-friendly site will make it easier for your customer to complete their most common tasks from their phones – whether that be finding a phone number, submitting a contact form, or purchasing a product.

What To Avoid

The idea of a completely separate mobile site (all the rage not too long ago) is now widely regarded as old hat. These separate sites usually exist on different domains, subdomains, or subdirectories – and work by redirecting mobile visitors to these locations.

Separate sites can be confusing to google (and customers) not to mention the additional work that is often required to maintain two versions of one website. What you are looking for is a website design that responds to the viewers screen size – known as responsive web design.

In Summary…

Creating a Mobile-Friendly site is likely to return big gains in the future. Now is the time to check your site is meeting Google’s definition of ‘mobile friendly’ so that you can benefit from these upcoming algorithmic changes. Just be sure to think ‘customer first’ – and actually test your site directly to ensure that customers get the best possible experience whilst visiting from their smartphone.

Going mobile need not be complicated – so what’s stopping you?

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