You’ve heard the buzz going around, that your website needs to be mobile-friendly, haven’t you?
In fact, if you’ve come across that recently, you’re already far behind.
Because, as soon as Google announced mobile-friendliness of a website to be a ranking factor signal in 2015, smart webmasters started to go nuts over it right then.
It’s 2021, and the importance of a website to be mobile-friendly is more significant than ever before. That’s because, the volume of internet traffic coming from mobile devices compared to desktops are on a steady rise for a long time now, and it’ll keep rising.
According to this fresh research, mobile devices have taken the lead of global internet traffic at 55 percent, while desktop devices sit at 42 percent and the rest is distributed among tablets and other devices.
Now let’s face it – we all are glued to our smartphones. Social media, locations, directions, online games, email checks, searching for information – we seem to do everything on the go these days.
So as the major share of your website traffic is expected to come from mobile devices, you’re left with no other options but to make your website mobile-friendly.
If you don’t, you might drop in SERP rankings (considering Google seeing mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal), you’ll have fewer conversions from your visitors, you’ll lose sales, leads, and whatnot.
Simply put, you’ll not be making the most out of your existing visitors and you’ll hinder your way to getting more visitors. Would you like that?
I can imagine you screaming ‘NO’, and here’s our take to help you prevent these bad things from happening to your website:
What do I mean by Mobile-friendliness in the first place?
Mobile-friendliness is often confused with responsive web design. But are they the same thing?
No. (more on this topic later in the article)
Mobile-friendliness goes beyond that, but it’s not really that complicated to understand.
As the name suggests, mobile-friendliness implies that the website is friendly for mobile devices. The website will not appear to be user-friendly only on desktop devices, but on mobile devices as well.
The text should be easily readable, that images should be optimized to view on smaller screens, the navigation should be seamless, the buttons will be easily clickable, and in general, the content should be easy to consume on smaller devices.
Now, that does not automatically happen in a website that is primarily designed for desktop devices, even if it’s responsive. Mobile-friendliness does demand an additional layer of optimization.
Responsive Design and Mobile-Friendliness Isn’t Exactly the Same Thing
Now that you know what mobile-friendliness is, you want to be clear on responsive design to understand the lining between the two.
So a responsive website means a site that’ll in response, change the appearance of it to the difference in the screen size of different devices. It’ll have dynamic content, optimized images, layout, and so on so that it can adapt to the changes according to the screen size of a device it’s being browsed from.
For example, say it has three columns of text when browsed from a desktop or laptop. But when it’ll be browsed from a smaller device, say a smartphone, it’ll shift from the three-column layout to one-column, to appear appropriately on the mobile device.
Now, it’s not necessary that it’ll change the appearance only when visited from a mobile device. Rather, it’ll also change appearance if you shrink the browser window, from full-screen mode to half-screen or one-third of the screen. You can also use this method to check if a website is responsive or not when browsing it from a desktop.
So as you can tell, responsive design is not exclusive to creating a better experience only when visited from a mobile device, rather as a whole.
Now, that’s a start, a start to creating mobile-friendly websites, but it’s not all. You can say it’s one of the few approaches to create a mobile-friendly website. But you’re going to need an additional layer of optimization to create a fully mobile-friendly website.
Why is Mobile-Friendliness So Important?
Let me again point out that stat I threw at you right at the beginning, that mobile device deliver more than half of the traffic (55 percent) of the internet right now (2021), and it’s expected to grow further.
Depending on your business or website, it could be more. For example, if you’re a local store, it’s likely that a major share of your traffic will be coming from “near me” searches, and all of them will be on their mobile.
Those are highly targeted traffic that’s likely to convert, would you like to give up on them? Chances are, if your website isn’t friendly for mobile devices, they’ll close upon you.
Here are a few more facts that further emphasize the importance:
- According to this socPub research, 57 percent of users say they are not likely to recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site.
- According to Google themselves, To address immediate information needs, three in four smartphone owners turn to mobile search first
- People these days have 2 times more interactions with brands on mobile than anywhere other media, including TV, in-store and so. (Google)
I could throw literally a hundred more stats at you but it’s not all about the numbers, it’s more than that!
Mobile-Friendliness & SEO: A Better Love Story Than Twilight
Mobile-friendliness earns your website SEO benefits in multiple ways. In the same way, the lack of its presence hurts your SEO in similar but opposite ways. Wondering how?
1. Google Clearly Announced Mobile-friendliness to be a Ranking Factor
And that, over half a decade ago, but it’s frustrating to see that businesses are still ‘adapting’ to that change.
Google has always prioritized the users. And since the number of mobile users continued to grow, Google wanted to make sure that they get a better experience searching and browsing from their mobile devices.
So, they announced mobile-friendliness to be a ranking factor, and thus webmasters had no other choice but to make their websites mobile-friendly to not give up on rankings.
2. Mobile-friendly websites get a better click-through rate = Better SEO
According to multiple sources, mobile-friendly websites seem to get a better click-through rate. While that’s a piece of great news from the traffic perspective, it also brings good news from an SEO perspective.
You see, CTR is also a ranking signal for Google. When someone is searching for a query and you’re showing up, and they’re clicking through to your website, it means that the user presumed your site to be useful in that regard.
So from the next search onwards, Google is likely to rank you even higher. But if it’s the other way around, that you’re showing up and people are still not clicking through to your website, that sends a negative signal and you’re likely to rank lower.
Mobile-friendliness Affects Your Conversion Rate
It may increase, or at least, prevents your conversion rate from decreasing. Let me explain what I mean.
We all are so stressed out already. And probably more impatient than ever. And one of the most significant forms of force that stands in between us taking an action is probably friction.
The little dilemmas created by little inconveniences, because as I just mentioned, we’re so used to getting things quick and right at our fingertips that we’re so impatient these days.
Now when your website is not mobile-friendly, it creates friction for a user accessing it from mobile devices.
The comparatively harder-to-read text, the too-large images, the tough-to-click button and links, the inconvenient navigation – all of them add to create friction between a customer and him taking the action.
Friction creates a barrier to conversion.
If a customer has to work harder to take action, like spending a lot of time to figure out how to add a product to the cart or how to checkout, he or she is likely to abandon the whole activity, just close the website and go to another – because, there’s a lot of them out there.
Say you open up an eCommerce website to buy a smartwatch. There’s a lot of products, and you don’t want to browse your way through, so you tried to search for one.
And, you just don’t seem to find it. Maybe that is there in some corner, in the form of some tiny magnification glass, and you pat yourself on the back for finding it.
In your search, a list comes up, where you have to click one after one to see the core specs. The information is organized in tables but pretty hard to read on a small screen – you have to pinch, scroll.
No option to compare similar watches side by side, unless you want to keep tapping back and forth to compare multiple options.
You added one to the cart, but where’s the cart button to checkout?
Okay, you found it. Now they tell you to create an account, having you input a lot of unnecessary information. Maybe they’ll even ask you to open your mail inbox and confirm the email.
If that’s the scenario of your website too, probably many of your potential customers had already abandoned the buying in some step of the lengthy, inconvenient process.
The global conversion rate for desktop is already poor at 3.63 percent, while mobile sits at an abysmal 1.25 percent – which may be due to the reason for so many websites not being mobile-friendly.
Don’t be one of them.
How Mobile-friendly Is My Website?
The first step to making your website friendly for mobile devices is checking how friendly, or not-friendly it already is. Fortunately, Google themselves will tell you that.
Head over to Google Mobile-friendliness Test Tool and find out what’s done wrong on your website. It’s a good start.