The last few years many of us have known that optimising your website for those customers who choose to use mobile devices will become increasingly important in attracting and retaining customers. But when it comes to responding to this and other challenges there seems to be two types of online store owners: those that are constantly tweaking their websites to itterative gains and those that will only make drastic changes every few years. However, we know when it comes to SEO, usability and conversion it is normally better to be in the former camp than the latter.
This issue has never been shone is greater light than with designing websites to cater for mobile designers and the need has never been more current than now.
This week Google started assiging “Mobile Friendly” tags to search results. A couple of years ago they used to show a little mobile icon – but didn’t last all that long, but we do expect the recent changes as at least a statement of intent. However, there is absolutely more to this than just showing customers which websites in their search results are likley to offer a more enjoyable experience. They now give ranking boosts to mobile-optimised websites – to an unkown degree.
If you are interested in recieving a ranking-boost for mobile optimisation, Google kindly lists the features that will determing a ‘mobile-friendly’ website here. They include not requiring users to resize text manually to be able to read it, having links sufficiently distant so users can easily select the desired one and not needing to resize the page horizontally to fit the content in.
You can see these requirements in operation when you use Google’s ‘mobile-friendly’ test tool. An example of an ‘unfriendly’ website will get a response such as:
whilst this site will get an all-clear:
So we have seen that Google definitely looks at whether your website is mobile-friendly, and we can expect that if your site is labelled as such in the search results that your click-through-rate will be higher and we know that Google places CTR and bounce rate as an important factor in rankings then it shouldn’t be too far a stretch of the imagination to see that being mobile-optimised will, therefore, be another ranking factor. But just how do you take a website that you’ve poured a great deal of time, effort and money into and make it ‘acceptable’? Thankfully if you’re running one of the more popuar website creators and ecommerce softwares, then Google has collated some useful, specific actions for you, which you can find here. If you use Shopify they have some mobile themes for yout to explore. EKMPowershop states they are ‘mobile shopping as standard’ and our sister company’s ecommerce solution (Kong) is too.
The problem is that there are tens of thousands of webstores that were built inhouse and not via some off-the-shelf ecommerce solution. Many may even have code and designs that date back a decade or so. For these sites you are looking at a revolutionary change to the site’s architecture and perhas a shift to one of these hosted solutions.
If you are considering revamping your website then do consider this additional testing tool which looks at how fast your website renders and pay particular attention to the later part: “user experience” as this is likely to pay a part in Google’s algorythm.
When business is as competitive as it is, then it certainly is worth exploring opportunities to gain competitive advantages, and site architecture and responsiveness are certainly aspects to consider.