Why It’s Time for a Google Mobile-Friendly Website Strategy
There’s no denying it. Mobile is the future.
We look up store hours, request directions, send emails — all from the convenience of our mobile devices.
And for companies, mobile constantly changes the way we do business and engage customers.
Google understands this and is always looking for innovative ways to deliver the best results for their users. If your website isn’t on par with the top 10 organic pages, you’ll have difficulty connecting with new customers and getting leads, sales, and conversions.
Recently, you may have heard of the HTTPS security update, but now there are 2 new updates which affect your website’s mobile visibility on Google.
Let’s look at the recent Google algorithm updates and how with the amazing resources and tools, you can increase your website’s visibility and traffic on Google.
Google’s Mobile-First Indexing Update
In early spring, Google confirmed its Mobile-First Indexing update.
Mobile-First Indexing means Google uses the mobile version of the page for indexing and ranking. It evaluates each site on its mobile readiness to help users easily find what they’re looking for.
With over 40% of online transactions happening on mobile, thinking of a mobile-first strategy for your website optimization is critical.
Mobile-First Indexing is only part of the equation; the next update needs a hands-on approach to increasing your website’s visibility on Google.
Google’s Mobile Speed Update
As of July 2018, Google will use page speed as a ranking factor for mobile searches.
The new update affects pages which deliver the slowest experience to its users. According to a study by Google and SOASTA, a 1-second delay in load times impacts mobile conversions by up to 20%.
And a slow mobile site doesn’t just hurt conversions, it may change a customer’s perception of the brand.
More than half of people say they look poorly on brands with mobile websites not designed for use on the smartphone.
Google recognizes this issue for users, which is why businesses must prepare for their Mobile Speed Update.
How to Prepare for Google’s Mobile Speed Index Update
Use a variety of tools to test, audit, and better understand how the mobile speed update will affect your website. Fortunately, Google offers a lot of free tools which provide great insights into your website’s mobile-friendliness, page speed, and more.
Google Analytics is an excellent way to monitor web traffic behavior and engagement.
If you don’t have it installed on your website, the setup process is easy. Once you start gathering data, you’ll learn more about your audience, like what mobile devices they use when visiting the website.
Here’s how to check out your mobile website traffic in Google Analytics.
- Log in to your account.
- On the left-hand side of the dashboard go to Audience.
- Scroll down to the section labeled Mobile and click on Overview.
You can filter by a specific date range or even by devices. Here’s an example of Strategy’s mobile traffic in the last 30 days.
From the data, we see in the last 30 days we had over 2,606 new mobile users visit our website.
This is critical for evaluating the impact of Google’s mobile updates. If we didn’t optimize for mobile, we would risk losing out on valuable traffic and conversions on our website.
If your site is fast, you have a better chance of ranking on Google over a competitor’s slow site with high bounce rates.
Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test
Test how easily a visitor accesses your page on a mobile device with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Tool.
The Mobile-Friendly Tool is easy to use; simply type in the URL of the web page you want to test.
The test results include a screenshot of how the page looks on a mobile device, as well as a list of any mobile usability issues which affect how the user sees the web page.
Website Speed Test for Google
Another great tool is Google’s Website Speed Test
PageSpeed Insights scores the performance of a page for mobile and desktop devices and gives suggestions on how to improve it.
It analyzes and produces metrics for:
- Desktop and Mobile Speed Score
- Page Load Distribution
- Optimization tips
To test it, enter your website’s URL and click on the Analyze button.
Here’s an example of Strategy’s website performance.
Google Test My Site
Most mobile sites lose half of their visitors while loading. See how fast your site is and get tips on how to make it faster with Google’s Test My Site.
When you enter your URL on Google’s Test My Site tool, you’ll see how many seconds it takes for the website to load.
Test My Site also shows you the estimated visitor loss from the loading time. If you’re noticing your website is performing badly across a variety of tools, you need a free SEO audit to see how you can comply with Google’s best practices.
Google’s Speed Score Card
See how your mobile site speed ranks compared to competitors and learn how to provide a faster mobile experience with Google’s Speed Score Card.
Submit your own URL and top competitor URLs for a comparison. The tool will arrange the URLs and corresponding speeds in the form of a list to easily analyze.
Here’s an example of Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Amazon’s speed.
Google’s Impact Calculator
Google’s Impact Calculator estimates the potential revenue impact that could result from improving your mobile website speed. See how much more you stand to gain by reducing load time by two seconds versus one second.
The calculator shows how a change in page load drives revenue up or down after marketers put in their average monthly visitors, average order value, and conversion rate.
How to Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly on Google
Were you surprised by any of the results? It’s likely you discovered a few areas to improve. Let’s face it, you can’t put mobile-readiness on the back burner anymore. It must become a part of your optimization strategies if you want to rank well on Google.
To make your website more mobile-friendly, let’s start with some fundamentals. According to Google, a great website experience is:
- Fast – It responds quickly to user interactions with smooth animations and scrolling.
- Integrated – The user doesn’t have to reach through the browser, it uses the full capabilities of the device to create an experience true to the device.
- Reliable – Loads instantly and reliably.
- Engaging – Keeps the user returning to the site with beautifully designed experiences that look and feel natural.
With those 4 fundamentals in mind, to make your website mobile-friendly consider these solutions:
- Implement Responsive Web Design
- Create a site that is easily viewable on different size devices using flexible layouts, images, and cascading stylesheet media queries.
- Design for the Mobile Customer
- Develop a site that supports the functionality a mobile customer needs to quickly complete the action you want. Make headlines, taglines, and bullets memorable and easy to scan.
- Evaluate Mobile Performance
- Audit your website’s connection quality, server, and front-end architecture.
This brief checklist covers only a small part of mobile website best practice recommendations. The most important things to consider are to evolve your website as new Google updates roll out and continually test your website for areas of improvement.
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Ready to Perfect Your Website for Google’s Mobile Updates?
It’s hard to run a business, balance priorities, and support your website. With the complexity of Google always changing, you need a partner who can help you take on the technical challenges.
You don’t have to do it alone with Strategy on your team. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help you grow your business on Google and stay ahead of your competitors.