Just a few days ago, Google announced a major change to its search algorithm. In short, they are now giving preference to sites that are “mobile-ready” when seen in search results on mobile devices.
This makes sense because if you’ve ever tried to navigate through a website on your phone that was not mobile-ready, you quickly find yourself pinching, zooming and sliding the screen back and forth just to read an article. Not an ideal user experience.
How To Test Your Site with Google
Google has made it simple for anyone to check whether any site is mobile-friendly. Just go here and put in the site address and seconds later you’ll know if Google sees the site as mobile-friendly or not.
Here’s what it looks like when we put our site to the test. Yay!
What a Mobile-Ready Site Looks Like
And here is what our website looks like on an iPhone screen in portrait mode. I’ve taken four screenshots of our main page and put them together in the following images.
As you can see, each section of our site fits the phone screen perfectly and allows visitors to easily navigate and learn more about us and our business.
What a Non-Mobile-Ready Site Looks Like
Here’s what Google will tell you when you test a non-mobile-ready site.
Here’s a screenshot of that same site on my iPhone. As you can see much of the content is being pushed off the sides of the screen and is not easily viewed.
Should You Even Care?
You should, and the livelihood of your business could depend on it. However, if your website isn’t mobile-ready just yet you may still have some time before it affects your business. It really depends on a few key things:
- Do your customers (or potential customers) even search or view your site on mobile devices?
- Are you actively seeking leads from your site, and if so how? Phone calls, form submissions, live chat?
- If you’re running an eCommerce site, does it makes sense for people to purchase on their mobile devices, or perhaps it’s a digital product (download) that they would make more sense for them to purchase from a laptop or desktop computer?
Regardless of the above, if your site is not mobile responsive now, it definitely should be as soon as you have the budget for getting it done. Mobile Internet use has increased exponentially in the past few years and even more telling are the mobile marketing statistics and the trends show that it is not stopping anytime soon.
What Does The Data Tell You?
The best place to start looking when deciding when (not if) to redesign your non-mobile-ready site is your website stats. If you’re utilizing Google Analytics it’s as easy as navigating to Audience–>Mobile–>Overview to get a quick snapshot of how many people are visiting your site on mobile devices. And you can even dig deeper to see what specific devices their using.
Looking at this first example, let’s start gauge the importance of a responsive and mobile-ready design for this business.
- Monthly Visits: 35,036
- desktop: 32,937
- mobile: 1,538
- tablet: 561
Looking at those numbers your first thought may be that a mobile-friendly website probably isn’t that important as just 1,538 visits out of 35,036 were from smartphones. And you could be right.
However, what if I told you that this website was in the business of selling software that is specifically made to help other websites be mobile-ready? In other words, if those 1,538 people found this business by looking for mobile-ready solutions and then saw a site that wasn’t mobile-ready itself they could make a very quick judgement that this company (and its products) aren’t for them.
So there’s more to the interpretation than just numbers.
This second example shows the visits from a local community site that caters to dog lovers. The first thing you’ll notice is that the monthly visits are not nearly as high as the previous example, but look a little closer at the desktop and mobile visits.
Mobile visits account for nearly 50% of all traffic. Do you think this site should be mobile-ready? Of course!
Looking a little deeper into the Analytics shows me that mobile visitors are typically searching for dog-friendly places in this city like “dog parks” and “dog friendly restaurants” and because this site has many pages and articles dedicated to these subjects, including maps, it makes perfect sense.
Mobile-Ready or Responsive. What’s the Difference?
I’ve tried to stick to using one term above but if you don’t know already, “mobile-ready” and “responsive design” have the same meaning. Responsive refers to the concept of your site elements and its content “responding” to different device screen sizes and positioning itself accordingly when your website is loaded.
The terminology used can vary depending on your developer or design agency, but the bottom line is that making sure your site is ready for mobile visitors and searches is a good thing for your business now and certainly into the future.
Do you need help achieving a mobile-ready website? If so, please feel free to contact us directly. We can help. It’s part of what we do for our clients.