Mobile search is more important than ever as Google rolls out its new “mobile-friendly” tags that appear next to websites that meet certain mobile criteria. These tags appear when a user searches using Google on a mobile device.
This move is not surprising as statistics show mobile is increasingly popular. Some of the statistics in a report done by Nielsen and Google showed the following results:
- 77% of mobile searches occur at home or at work.
- 17% of mobile searches occur on the go.
- Shopping queries on a mobile device are 2 times more likely to be in a store.
- 3 out of 4 mobile searches trigger follow-up actions. These include:
- Further research
- A store visit
- A phone call
- A purchase
- Word of mouth sharing
- On average, mobile search triggers nearly 2 follow up actions from the list above.
- 55% of conversions (store visit, phone call, or purchase) happen within an hour of a mobile search.
With Google’s move to identifying mobile-friendly sites in search, this makes mobile responsiveness all the more important as users can immediately see whether or not a website will cater to their mobile needs. This could potentially lead to decreased visits to websites not optimized for mobile as users begin to avoid websites without the tag.
Here are the 4 criteria Google is using to determine whether or not a website is mobile-friendly:
- Avoids software not common on mobile devices
- Uses text that is readable without zooming
- Fits content to mobile screens without user having to manually zoom
- Places links in such a manner that they can be easily tapped on a touchscreen device
Google also announced that it is experimenting with using the mobile-friendly criteria as a ranking signal. This ultimately means that those websites that are not mobile yet need to look to making that happen, or they could see a drop in their search engine ranking.
These announcements should come as no big surprise. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is about doing what is right for the user. Mobile responsiveness is key to giving users a pleasant, simple experience on your website.
There are two ways to go about a mobile responsive website: Responsive and Standalone. Responsive websites allow for one website to be compatible with a variety of devices, from actual desktops to tablets to smartphones. The website simply adjusts to the viewing area available on the device. Standalone on the other hand requires two websites: the main, desktop version and a mobile-specific website where users are redirected depending on their device resolution.
Not sure if your website is mobile-responsive? Run your URL through the Mobile-Friendly Test to find out!
And be sure you are utilizing the full potential of your mobile-friendly website by Fine Tuning Your Mobile Marketing Strategy.