Is Mobile SEO as Important as Google Says?
The Google Mobile-Friendly Update, infamously called “Mobilegeddon”, was launched last April. This new algorithm was designed to reward mobile-friendly webpages by giving their ranking a boost in Google’s mobile search results. Essentially, a user who is performing a Google search from a phone or tablet is given search results showing websites that are designed to fit their devices.
Technically, Mobilegeddon does not affect desktop searches; websites without a mobile version are only excluded from mobile search results. According to Google, a mobile-friendly website should contain readable text that does not require zooming, content that fits the screen so the user does not have to scroll horizontally, and links that are spaced far enough from each other so that they can be easily tapped.
Is Mobile SEO Really Necessary?
According to a Google survey of mobile users, YES. In this survey:
- 72% of mobile users say that it is important to them that websites are mobile-friendly
- 79% say they will go back to the search engine and try to find another website if yours is not mobile-friendly
- 67% are more likely to buy a product or use a service from a mobile-friendly website
Increased Visits from Mobile Users
As Google starts tagging websites that are optimized for mobile as “mobile-friendly” in its mobile search results, websites that are not labeled as such will inevitably start seeing a decline in their click-through rate (CTR). Why? Well, if a user performs a search with their mobile device and 3 out of the top 5 results are labeled as “mobile-friendly”, the user will most likely click on any of the 3 results that Google identifies as mobile-friendly. Over time, there will be less click-throughs for websites that are not mobile-friendly, as more mobile users pay attention to those that are.
Higher Mobile Rankings
Aside from giving mobile-friendly websites higher mobile search rankings and demoting those that are not, Google is taking a step further by using the “mobile-friendly” designation as a ranking factor to promote websites that are optimized for mobile. As mentioned in a recent Google blog post that announced the new “mobile-friendly” labels, “We see these labels as a first step in helping mobile users to have a better mobile web experience. We are also experimenting with using the mobile-friendly criteria as a ranking signal.”
Increased Revenue from Mobile-Friendly Websites
Having a mobile-friendly website at a time when majority of your target audience uses mobile devices to find products and services they need is a competitive advantage that will consequently result to increased income. As more consumers turn to mobile-friendly sites that give them better user experience, your mobile visibility allows you to effectively connect with your target market and eventually close a sale online or physically drive potential customers towards your business.
The Next Steps for Your Mobile SEO Strategy
To check if your business website is classified as mobile-friendly, do a Google search of your company using your mobile device. In the search engine results page, the label “Mobile-friendly” can be seen on the left side of the snippet just below your webpage URL. You can also use Google’s mobile-friendly test to easily check whether Google sees your webpage as mobile friendly.
If your website is not labeled as mobile-friendly, there are 2 options to getting good with Google. You can create a mobile website (m.domain) which is linked with your existing website, or build an entirely new responsive website that will work across desktop, tablet, and mobile devices. If you are ready to revamp your entire web presence, responsive web design is highly recommended. With responsive web design, you will have just 1 URL so it will be more convenient in terms of checking analytics.
Mobile traffic is increasing at an exponential rate, and the steps that Google has taken are a clear indicator that businesses must implement a solid mobile SEO strategy to remain competitive. Having a properly optimized website for mobile search is no longer an option, but a means to ensure you achieve high mobile rankings, greater market reach, and even higher revenues.