When you see people walking down the street or sitting in a restaurant, what are they doing? They’re likely staring at their mobile phones to figure out how to change a headlight or decide on where to go to dinner tonight.
Mobile traffic is vital to the growth and survival of today’s online and brick and mortar businesses. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile, then you’re losing out on customers and revenue. People expect your website to be easily viewed on their cell phones.
We’ll explain why a mobile-optimized website is important and the role cell phone traffic plays for today’s businesses.
Mobile Search Outpaces Desktop Search
For many years, when people needed to know something on the Internet, they Googled it on their desktop. They didn’t have a choice. Websites were designed around a bigger screen and the cell phone technology had not advanced enough to make surfing the Internet a pleasant experience.
The advent of the first smartphone with a browser like those found on laptops revolutionized cell phone search, but it was still too slow for many people. Over the last decade, cell phone technology advanced to the point where the speed, graphics, and usability were on par and finally exceeded that of a desktop.
We watched as the tide turned and people stopped using desktops and laptops to search on the Internet and used their cell phones. Why? It was easier.
They didn’t have to be at their home or office to look something up. They didn’t have to turn on a computer and wait for it to boot up. Everything was done via cell phone and with the ease of a touchscreen; there was no mouse or keyboard necessary.
Today, mobile traffic far outweighs desktop traffic on websites. If you’re not optimized for it, then you’re missing out.
Google Wants You Optimized for Mobile Traffic
When desktop traffic ruled, Google only cared that your website looked great on a computer. They based their ranking on a desktop computer and its search algorithm was geared toward PCs.
Mobile search came on quickly and Google was one of the first companies to notice it’d become the leader in search. The company put more emphasis on mobile search little by little until finally, they made it a major ranking factor.
It started with how your website looked on mobile devices. Initially, websites created separate sites for mobile devices, but that swiftly changed to a responsive web design that altered your existing website for whatever size screen it was on.
If your site wasn’t optimized for mobile, then it would lower your rank on mobile search. It soon began taking other factors into consideration and making them part of the algorithm.
Google gave businesses plenty of time to switch over to a mobile or responsive website before implementing an algorithm change known as Mobilegeddon to SEO experts. It placed a permanent emphasis on mobile traffic and mobile-friendly sites.
The final nail in desktop searches coffin was mobile-first indexing. Despite mobile taking the lion’s share of search, Google still used the desktop website as the primary one for ranking.
It wasn’t a big deal because most sites had already changed to a responsive design. Google decided to slowly roll out mobile-first indexing that used the mobile website as the primary ranking website. Over several months, Google rolled it out and let website owners know via an email and notification in Google Search Console.
This solidified mobile search and mobile traffic as key to Google’s search future.
What Does Mobile-Friendly Mean?
Google wants all websites to be mobile-friendly, but what does that mean? It’s the same thing as mobile optimized. Basically, anyone using a mobile phone should have an easy time seeing and using your website.
Google even created a mobile-friendly test you can use to see if your site is mobile-friendly and how it can improve. The basic tenets of being mobile-friendly are the site must fit and be navigable on a mobile phone screen.
It should be pushed off to the side, pictures shouldn’t be large, and menus would be off to the side or in a “hamburger” menu. The pictures should be compressed and pages quick to load on cell phones. The text should be easy to read, but not too large.
These are all factors Google uses to rank your site for search queries. If your site is too slow or doesn’t look good on a mobile device, then Google will lower your rank and give it to a website that’s better optimized for mobile.
Google is a business and the searchers are its customers. It wants customers to have the best websites first on the search page. You could have the best information available, but it’s useless to the searcher if they can’t see the page or must constantly scroll to the side to read it.
Mobile Traffic Drives Sales and Revenues
In addition to being a hit with Google, mobile search also dominates sales and revenues for most websites. When a person wants to buy something, or decide where to go for shopping or to eat, they check their cell phone.
Your website needs to make it easy for them to purchase directly from your site from their phone. A spur of the moment decision on someone’s lunch break could be a sales boon for you.
If a group of coworkers wants to order from a restaurant, they head to their phones and decide. You could get hundreds of dollars in sales from a single office order.
Optimizing your site for mobile traffic is vital to your business.
Mobile Isn’t Going Anywhere
As cell phones continue to advance, their use will only grow. Websites need to develop mobile-friendly sites from the outset and take advantage of the flood of mobile searches. Mobile traffic makes up the greatest portion of website traffic and you deserve your share.
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