The SEO value of being mobile friendly

Posted on:5 August 2015By:Jon Sharman

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Why your website needs to be mobile friendly

Does your business rely heavily on converting visitors directly from the research phase of the customer journey? If so, it is worthwhile ensuring that your website is 'mobile friendly'. The days of mobile results mimicking those of desktop are now behind us thanks to the rollout of the 'Mobile Friendly' algorithm by Google on April 21st 2015.

Mobile search continues to grow

The rise of mobile based search has been steady, and in a lot of businesses it has slipped under the radar. In the past four years the proportion of traffic coming into websites via mobile devices has, according to our stats, increased from 5% to 30% (and in some retail websites up to 45%).

This has been driven by the constant improvements in mobile phone and tablet technology. Searching online, whilst virtually anywhere, has become so easy! Want to know what the number one record was on the day you were born? Simply tap the query into the 'search box' on your mobile device, peruse the displayed results and find the answer. Such simplicity and ease of use has driven demand and turned it into the norm.

The rise of the mobile in search terms

For a large number of businesses, regardless of whether they are B2B or B2C, the majority of searches for their services are still conducted on a device with a significant sized keyboard but the rise of mobile search in recent years has been swift and the mobile confidence levels have significantly increased.

Ecommerce via Mobile

YearMobileTabletDesktop
20110.67%4.44%94.88%
20125.98%8.22%85.80%
20137.88%14.44%77.68%
201414.16%20.85%64.99%

eCommerce-via-mobile.jpg

Combined tablet and mobile sources now notch up over 40% of the traffic in eCommerce

Lead Generation via Mobile

YearMobileTabletDesktop
20110.56%2.08%97.36%
20120.57%4.49%94.94%
20130.85%15.88%83.27%
20141.70%25.29%73.01%

lead-gen.jpg

Traffic via mobile and tablet has significantly increased in the lead generation over the last four years, but not to the same level as eCommerce

So how much of your traffic may have been affected?

By looking in your analytics software (Google Analytics / Omniture etc) you can get a good idea of what percentage of your traffic will be affected by this roll-out. By selecting…

GA-view.jpg

...you can see what percentage of your traffic comes through a mobile device.

How mobile-centric has this rollout actually been?

With much of the industry naturally fearsome of any algorithmic update, the first question that was asked upon announcement was… 'Would this have an effect my desktop traffic?', quickly followed by… 'Would my site's mobile friendliness have any effect on how my site ranks on desktop searches?' In both cases it was assured that this update was solely focused on search results shown on a mobile device. The only grey area was how it affected Google search results using a Tablet device (namely the continuing question of when does a tablet stop being a mobile device and become classified as a desktop?). This is an area that may remain unclear for some time to come but being 'mobile friendly' makes this question irrelevant

Take the mobile friendly test?

If you want to find out whether your visibility may have been compromised by this algorithm rollout (without meticulously going through all your traffic driving keywords) there are two sets of tests you can run. It's fair to say that if you pass both tests that you shouldn't have anything to worry about, other than the quality of your content itself.

Fixing all the issues raised across your website by the two tests (if possible) will stand you in good stead going forward and allow you to compete in the mobile search results.

Here are the two tests:

Run the mobile friendly test... (click below, add your website name and then click 'analyze')

https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

 

Run the mobile usability test… (click below, ensuring that you are already logged into your Google account. If you have a valid webmaster tools account you should be asked to select a website to run the test on. Once selected you will be presented with the results)

https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-usability

 

Need more help?

If you’re not really a techy type of person and would like some assistance regarding making your website mobile friendly, feel free to get in touch.

Find out more about Number1's approach to SEO

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