Considering that more than half of searches are coming from mobile devices, having a mobile-friendly website becomes a necessity. And it’s not only in theory. Google has been shifting its focus to a mobile-friendly aspect for a long time already. It has become a significant consideration for any business that wants successful digital marketing. When you want more visitors to engage with your website, mobile-friendly website optimization will positively affect your SEO. It will help you rank better in search results and keep those valuable visitors on your pages.
Mobile-friendly website for better website SEO
Since more users are accessing websites through mobile devices, slow and cumbersome websites are likely to repel them. That’s why you need to have a specific approach when designing your website layout for mobile devices. You want to ensure that users land on your page and stay there. Depending on the complexity of websites, you will need web developers combined with SEO experts in most situations. They will work closely on improving your website’s ranking position and providing a great user experience.
To help you better digest the subject, here is the list of important topics to better understand the connection between mobile-friendly websites and SEO:
- What does a mobile-friendly website mean?
- A mobile-friendly approach improves user experience and engagement
- Google and mobile experience
- Mobile-first indexing
- The practical implications of a mobile-friendly website
- eCommerce websites
- Keeping up with competitors
What does a mobile-friendly website mean?
Your website is mobile-friendly when it correctly displays on different mobile devices. And today, we have plenty of them, from all types of Android and iPhone smartphones to countless versions of tablets, pads, and similar devices. In essence, it’s a part of general responsive design that allows you to layout your website on all types of screens. Not only on mobile devices but on large screens as well. All in the effort to provide users with a quality experience when visiting and browsing your website. And, because about 70% of time spent on the internet, people are using mobile devices, you need to focus on your “website’s portability”.
From an SEO perspective, this means that, without a mobile-friendly website, you are at risk of losing valuable leads for your business.
A mobile-friendly approach improves user experience and engagement
A large part of mobile SEO is adjusting your website to provide a great digital experience for your visitors. A mobile-friendly website will look appealing and will keep them engaged. Since there are so many mobile users out there, this is a big deal for your SEO. From visitors’ perspective, a website that is easy to use will not initiate the natural feel to leave and look elsewhere. When it’s easy to navigate and quickly find the right information, your visitors tend to stay longer. As a result, the overall bounce rate will reduce. This is equally important whether you are having a blog or an online shop.
On the other hand, if it’s difficult to browse and read the content, visitors won’t hesitate to leave your website. Even factors like waiting for pages to load for too long can mean a reduction in final conversions. And, if you are selling products or services, this can have quite an impact on your overall results.
Google and mobile experience
Speaking of user experience, Google emphasizes the importance of a quality mobile experience. They are going so far that they are, in some cases, punishing websites that don’t provide one. Not directly, however, but through the ranking positions. They have announced that mobile-friendly design is one of the ranking factors, and websites that don’t provide it will probably not be able to rank very high. As a result, there is not much actual choice left to website owners than to comply. However, they do provide more than enough guidelines about what mistakes to avoid and what to do when focusing on mobile design.
Because of all the changes to general search engine principles, Google now differently approaches indexing and crawling. Since mobile internet usage is constantly increasing, the way they evaluate potential rankings is now different from before. They prioritize a mobile-first approach for website development, structural data of websites for indexing, and plenty of additional factors, more than ever before.
They also reveal the general guidelines for websites to increase ease of use and reduce the effect of interruption marketing tactics. For example:
- Pop-ups should not look forceful for visitors and should not disturb the main content
- There should not be conditioning to access the main content
- Existing pop-ups should be possible to easy dismiss
- Everything that doesn’t belong to a specific group, like login forms and legal interstitials, should not interrupt the experience “above the fold”
- and many more
The practical implications of a mobile-friendly website
Generally speaking, there are certain practical aspects of mobile-friendly design that will affect your overall SEO. Aside from universal user experience, the main reason it’s so important is what impression the website leaves on its visitors. For desktop users, most of the time, they don’t have to think about usage since everything is perfectly laid out to them. However, people are not exactly going to take their laptops with them when looking for a dining place on the go. That’s what mobile devices like smartphones are for.
In a real-life situation, when you are looking for nearby restaurants, the information on your small screen should be clear and visible. If people come across websites with tiny letters and buttons that require them to zoom in, they will pass. So, if you are a business owner, you are losing a lot of potential customers. And this is one of those things Google wants to avoid so they can provide the best possible experience for their own search engine visitors.
Similarly, the same problems affect the online shopping experience. And eCommerce websites are already dealing with this. A large percentage of buyers are using their mobile devices for this purpose. That’s why having a mobile-friendly website can significantly impact your chance for success. It’s necessary to make the website work properly on the most commonly used mobile devices if you even consider having decent conversion rates.
Keeping up with competitors
Consequently, this leads to another problem: Dealing with your competitors. Since mobile-friendly design is crucial, every competitor on the market is using it. Therefore, if businesses want to remain competitive and not ruin their marketing potential, they have to have a mobile-friendly website. On top of it, the mobile-friendly design opens up new opportunities to further optimize your website for search engines. Just look at local SEO, for example. It’s a vital part of any small business. And opportunities like the ability to track the location of visitors are working well with Google My Business and Google Maps.
In the era of mobile devices, you should not think you can afford to ignore mobile users. They make the majority of search engine traffic and can considerably affect your digital marketing. If you want to remain competitive and provide an excellent user experience, you will need a mobile-friendly website.
Diana Bryant has more than 10 years of experience working with eCommerce businesses, advising them on SEO optimization, and helping them grow. Now, she writes about different SEO topics, trying to share that knowledge with others as well.