In early 2014 something amazing happened: mobile finally overtook fixed internet access. Statistics released by Ofcom showed that 22% of smartphone users and 30% of tablet users access the internet, compared to 29% of laptop and 17% of desktop users. So instead of browsing online from a desktop or laptop, global users are now using their smartphones to peruse websites on the go. So why is this significant for your business?
On February 26th, Google announced it was making some big changes:
“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”
These changes have now come into effect. Websites that work well on mobile devices are experiencing a boost in the search engine rankings, whilst webmasters who haven’t made appropriate changes will have seen a drop on traffic. If you fall into the latter category, you can’t afford to wait much longer to tackle the issue.
Figures show that 40% of retail sales in the last quarter of 2014 took place on mobile devices, which indicates that mobile is rapidly gaining momentum in the retail sector, as it is everywhere else. We all use mobile gadgets to search online on a daily basis. Often it’s because we have faster lifestyles so have to rely on doing things on the move (the morning commute is characterised by spikes in mobile internet usage whereas tablets are more popular at night). Sometimes, however, it’s because we need to find something or somewhere in the local area.
For example, say you have a sudden urge for a caffeine fix and an espresso from Starbucks just won’t do. You can use your mobile to search for an artisan coffee shop nearby and enjoy a freshly brewed espresso instead. Or, perhaps your car has a flat tyre, but you don’t want to get your hands dirty. Perform a mobile search and find a local garage to come and sort you out.
As you can see, mobile is becoming more important for brands as each day passes. Most big brands have wised up already and made sure their websites are mobile friendly, although at least one (Channel 4) appears to have been caught with its proverbial trousers down.
The point we are making here is that your business needs to be visible on mobile search platforms. Whether you own a coffee shop or a graphic design agency, unless you have a strong mobile presence, people won’t be able to find you and if you want to attract local customers on the move, mobile is essential. Even if a potential visitor does manage to land on your website, if it's not mobile friendly, they could leave within a matter of seconds.
You might think your goal has been achieved once a potential customer finds you on their smartphone, but in fact there is still a lot of work to do to entice them through the door!
Make sure customers can view directions, opening times, and contact information when they land on your website or mobile app. Mobile friendly websites also need to be optimised so that other essential information such as inventory and pricing is easy to find when a customer is scrolling a small smartphone screen.
Remember: think like Google and you won’t go too far wrong. Google is continually trying to improve customer experience. Therefore, by optimising your website so that it is mobile friendly, you will score points with Google and enjoy a better position in the search engine results. So plan ahead and make the relevant changes now. Speak to a member of our team today and find out what you need to do to make your website mobile friendly.