For years, mobile-friendly websites have been accommodating the growing trend of surfing the net on mobile devices. When a website is difficult to use, mobile users have no choice but to bounce. Poor mobile UXUI is a frustrating reality for the 51.89% of people who use a mobile device to access the internet. Despite the obvious need, many business owners have been slow to implement a mobile-friendly version of their website, but that’s about to change.
Google’s mobile search results are about to get a usability upgrade
Imagine a world where your website doesn’t get prioritized in search results conducted on mobile devices unless your webpages are mobile-friendly. That’s the world we’re stepping into with Google’s new mobile first index.
Regardless of algorithm updates, Google’s focus has always been to display relevant results to users. In standard search results, mobile users often get the short end of the stick. They don’t know whether a site is mobile-friendly until they click on it in the search results. Google’s standard index doesn’t tell mobile users which pages are built for their device.
Dubbed the ‘mobilegeddon’ update, Google’s mobile first index means that your business won’t survive unless you make it mobile-friendly.
Device-based search results are coming
Until recently, search results were prioritized the same, regardless of the device being used to perform the search. Higher Visibility explains that Google’s mobile first index prioritizes the mobile-friendly version of a webpage in the search results for users on mobile devices. The desktop version of pages will be available, but won’t be given value.
The way Google evaluates mobile pages is about to change, too. As pointed out in the guide linked above, Google might begin evaluating mobile content for its functionality according to a different style of indexing that doesn’t place heavy importance on links.
Google’s mobile first index is the incentive businesses need to roll out a mobile-friendly version of their website, or they might become invisible in mobile search results.
Most of your mobile traffic comes from Google
No matter how much organic traffic you generate from search engines like Yahoo! and Bing, the majority of your mobile traffic probably comes from Google. According to Net Marketshare, over 85% of all mobile search traffic comes from Google – the perfect reason to optimize your website for their mobile first index. If you don’t, your bounce rate will increase since 79% of mobile users skip to a different search result when they encounter a non-mobile-friendly page.
Search algorithms are continually evolving
Just as SSL evolved into one of Google’s lightweight search signals to promote a secure web, mobile first indexing is an evolution in how search engines serve users.
When Google first launched, smartphones didn’t exist and mobile browsing was rare. There wasn’t a need for multiple indexes that value and return results differently based on a user’s device. The demand for a separate search index developed as people transitioned from desktop to mobile.
A mobile-friendly website protects your marketing dollars
You probably employ a variety of strategies to generate traffic and get your webpages ranked higher, like link building, content marketing, and PPC ads. While some have small marketing budgets, other businesses invest thousands of dollars in these services. Without a mobile-friendly website, those dollars aren’t going to pay off like they should.
Without a mobile-friendly website, Google won’t prioritize or give value to your pages in mobile searches. When your webpages aren’t prioritized in mobile search results from Google, you’re essentially giving clicks to the competition.
If you’re using WordPress or any theme-based content management system, you probably don’t need to hire a designer. Most developers create themes to include a mobile-friendly version of the website that displays differently based on the user’s device.
Mobile-friendly websites aren’t a fad
For those who remember a time before smartphones, it’s understandable that mobile-friendly websites might seem like a fad. Years ago, it seemed strange to think that anyone would be wiling to stare at a small screen to navigate webpages, but that’s exactly what’s happening today. Granted, the ability to make webpages work for mobile devices drove the current reality.
Skipping a mobile-friendly site means losing out on a large quantity of organic traffic from mobile users. If you haven’t already, build a mobile-friendly version of your website and keep your active marketing dollars working to your advantage.