In April 2015, Google Mobilegeddon hit, and the world as we know it changed – at least in the world of online search. That’s when Google officially announced that mobile and Google were getting married. Just kidding – but not really. They actually announced that mobile-friendly websites would be given priority on search engine results pages (SERPs) and in paid ads.
Many companies were caught off guard, including countless small businesses that suddenly had to update their websites so they were mobile-friendly. This announcement was inevitable. Google had already begun favoring websites that were mobile-friendly or fully mobile-responsive, simply because half of all searches are conducted on a mobile device. (Responsive sites ensure that no matter what type of device you’re on, the website functions correctly; only the layout is different.)
Having a mobile-friendly site is incredibly important to small businesses for three reasons:
- Your local business will be found, which is especially important if you have a lot of competition.
- The most important information about your business will be easy for your customers to find (more on that below).
- Your ecommerce site will likely grow, because more and more people are making purchases, not just searching, on mobile sites.
So, what rules should you follow when it comes to creating a mobile-friendly website Google will reward?
Focus on either urgency- or research-based search
People conduct two types of searches on mobile devices: urgency- and research-based. Which type of search you need to focus on depends on your business and requires you to get into the mindset of someone using a mobile device.
During an urgency-based search, the customer needs your product or service immediately. She’s not at home or at the office when conducting a search. Instead, she’s traveling for business and needs to find the closest coffee shop before her first meeting of the day. We want your coffee shop to pop up at the top of the SERP.
During a research-based search, your customer is gathering information before making a big purchase. He’s been thinking about building a pool and has spent a few months doing research online to find a swimming pool contractor. Your site needs to have images and customer stories to help guide the decision-making process.
Consider how voice-enabled search works
Voice-enabled search allows us to use more words, like, “Where is the nearest coffee shop?” If I’m typing that search, I might just type, “Coffee, Jacksonville, FL.” Because more and more people are using voice to search, make sure your mobile site is using long-tail keywords.
Include only the most critical information
Mobile phones have small screens, so include only the most critical information that your customer would need to know, like your phone number, hours of operation, and map to your location.
Update your listings in online directories
Doublecheck your Google My Business, Bing, and Yahoo listings to ensure they are up to date, as these listings pop up at the top of the SERP.
Use Google Analytics
It’s really important to use Google Analytics so you know how people are using your site. What pages are they visiting? How long do they stay? What pages do they bounce from? How do users interact with the site? How can you make their experience better? The more relevant and easy-to-use your site is, the higher your search ranking.
Not sure how mobile-friendly your site is? You can analyze it on Google’s website here. Of course, if you need a mobile-friendly website, Web.com has you covered. Learn more about our mobile website services here.
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