Over the past few years, Google has made mobile indexing a priority. People are increasingly searching for information on their mobile devices and expect a strong mobile experience from the companies with which they engage. If Google is unable to provide websites that have quality mobile results, these individuals may be inclined to take their searching elsewhere.
Mobile is no longer optional. Google’s emphasis on mobile traffic has forced some brands to catch up. Explore a few ways your brand can make sure it doesn’t miss out on mobile and continue to reach your audiences in a mobile-centric web space.
Tablet Traffic Is Considered Desktop Traffic
A few years ago, brands started developing websites for three different user experiences: desktop, mobile, and tablet. Both tablet vendors and website developers thought tablets, such as iPads and Microsoft Surface devices, would have their own niche market with their own niche design needs. Some companies invested heavily in the tablet experience and believed that mobile would evolve to match the tablet’s layout.
However, this thinking was not the case. In mid-2015, Google started reporting traffic based on mobile and desktop, with tablet traffic included in the desktop numbers. Mobile traffic still significantly outnumbers desktop traffic, even with tablet numbers built in. Tablets aren’t as popular as mobile devices, yet they behave similarly enough to desktops to fall into the category.
While digital marketers should make sure their websites look good on tablets, the focus moving forward needs to be on smartphone devices. Simply looking at your analytics can tell you exactly what a small impact tablets have on your business compared to other devices.
Quality Mobile Website Experiences Aren’t Optional
The fact that mobile traffic surpassed desktop and tablet traffic — and continues to grow while the other two remain stagnant each year — proves that a quality mobile website experience isn’t optional for brands. In 2013, a developer could make some minor adjustments to a desktop layout to format it to mobile, but five years later, those types of shortcuts are unacceptable.
Depending on the company and industry you work with, you may consider creating a mobile-first approach to your website design. According to Marketing Land, a mobile-first approach to your brand’s customer journey assumes that the majority of your website traffic comes from smartphones. Thus, your brand should allocate most of its resources to improving the mobile experience. Instead of the 2013 approach, where the mobile layout was secondary to the main website relaunch, today’s approach places the mobile device at the top of the priorities list.
Brands Need to Combine SEO and Mobile Usability
Some brands worry that changes to a mobile website will affect their SEO and their analytics. For example, mobile users prefer one-page blog posts and articles that they can scroll and read, according to the professionals of AddThis. This format is a better experience for them because they won’t have to wait for pages to load every few minutes, a scenario which could possibly increase bounce rates and frustrate customers. However, web developers often prefer to create multiple pages for a blog article for SEO and analytics. The time on site and pages viewed boosts a website’s value in Google’s eyes and can help content managers learn how their content performs.
In some cases, developing a mobile-first approach means compromising with an SEO team. A better mobile experience can lead to better analytics, higher conversions, and, ultimately, better SEO. However, brands may still choose to break their blog articles into two pages to increase loading times and lower bounce rates. As long as the changes are made with the mobile customer experience in mind, both parties can work together to achieve their goals.
Social Content Needs to Be Mobile Focused
The first step of embracing the mobile era is improving your website. The next step is improving your digital marketing channels that drive traffic to it. Think about how your customers will consume your content when they post it: Where will they be when they see it? What actions can they easily take to engage with your brand?
Facebook video feeds are a great example of approaching content and social media with the mobile user in mind. Media Cause research has found that more than 80 percent of autoplay video on Facebook gets viewed without sound. This behavior may be due to users who want to see what a video is about before adding sound or who are watching in a location such as at work or on a train where they can’t watch videos without disturbing others.
The solution isn’t to create soundless videos, but rather to add subtitles. Brands can increase views by 12 percent by adding subtitles to a video. Suddenly, more people can engage with your brand because they know what’s going on. By learning how mobile users interact with social media, brands can create content that resonates with their audience — not audiences accessing desktop content only.
Marketers Need to Pay Attention to Mobile Changes
When Google announced it was taking a mobile-first approach to rankings, some websites started scrambling to improve their mobile pages while others came through the changes unscathed. This latter group knew that mobile use was growing in popularity and would soon overtake desktop options. By paying attention to trends and adapting to them, your brand can be better prepared for upcoming changes.
One option for staying on top of these trends is to work with digital thought leaders. Working in either an agency or consultant role, these experts can review your digital presence quarterly and propose ideas for improvement. Some will evaluate the changes you make to test their effectiveness and make sure you’re on the right track. Additionally, they may send news updates related to your online presence on upcoming changes and improvements.
The internet moves fast. Website trends from five years ago are outdated and burdensome for both companies and customers. Staying ahead of the latest trends is crucial for survival in the digital world.
Marketers don’t have to be intimidated by a mobile-first approach. Through a strategic plan and dedicated steps, you can move from a desktop-dependent to mobile-first mindset. Contact the mobile marketing team at VivosWeb today to discuss your mobile options and address your concerns.