The massive increase in the use of mobile and hand-held devices in recent years has meant changes in the ways virtually every offline or online business operates. That applies every bit as much to Google and search engine companies as it does to other industries, and as they amend their algorithms and ranking criteria to take account of the growth of mobile use, it also has huge implications for SEO.
Google has already started changing its results index as the numbers of desktop searches declines, and the number of searches coming from mobile devices increases. These changes mean that Google is giving ever-increasing prominence to mobile-friendly websites versus those sites that can only be viewed properly on desktop devices.
If you own a website you need to be aware of this switch, and more importantly, get your web designer to take appropriate actions to ensure that your website doesn’t get pushed down the ranking because it is not compatible with Google’s mobile-index. The steps required are not as difficult or as complicated as you might imagine, but they do need some time, and more importantly, some thought in terms of how your website operates.
It may be the case that your website is already on Google’s mobile index, and if you have installed Google’s Search Console, you will have been notified about this. If your website uses WordPress, then the theme you are using should have a mobile-friendly format. Using the search console, you can also access data relating to how Google’s spiders and bots are seeing your website and the degree to which your website ranks well for mobile against its desktop version.
Where your mobile-index ranking is struggling against your competitors, there are some of the ways you can introduce some simple SEO principles to steer your website towards being more mobile user-friendly.
Factors such as loading speed influence both Google’s rating of your site, and how your users view your site too. Slow loads mean they leave almost immediately and that is a big negative when it comes to your mobile-index ranking.
By the very nature of the differences in what a mobile device does versus a desktop one, there are going to be differences in what users do on each type of device. By understanding this and studying feedback or comments from mobile users regarding their experience of using mobile websites, you gain a great insight into how your website should perform.
One example is that mobile users tend to spend less time on any single page than those on desktops do. This tells you that you need to grab their attention quickly and make every effort to keep them there. Make it fun, make it different, and include functions that create short, sharp interactions.
As well as understanding the differences between desktop and mobile, in terms of how users want to interact you also need to be aware that there are differences in the sort of content that is published on your website. Whilst on desktop versions of your website you’ll get away with long detailed articles for example, on mobile devices your approach to content needs to be different.
Remember, that with mobile the attention span of visitors is much less than for desktop. You may only have a few seconds to grab their attention and keep it. The content should allow the users to fulfil, achieve or advance their objective immediately or at least very quickly.
Mobile use is only going to increase further, and if your website hasn’t already been made mobile-friendly then your business will undoubtedly suffer. Your ranking on Google will certainly decline if it hasn’t already done so, plus those users who visit your website on a handheld device will quickly move on elsewhere.