Guest article by Ivan Serrano
Whether you want to admit it or not, the world and by association the Internet is going mobile. In the US alone 58 percent of adults own a smartphone and worldwide there are 2.03 billion smartphone users. It’s clear that the convenience of mobile is quickly taking the world by storm and yet only 3 percent of digital marketing budgets go towards mobile optimization. If you have not implemented a mobile strategy yet for your business, you are potentially turning away thousands if not millions of potential customers.
Mobile Users Prefer Mobile-Optimized Sites
When the first iPhone came out, it was priced at an unattainable amount for most consumers. Now, there are plenty of budget smartphone and tablet options so people everywhere can now own a smartphone. Growth is especially strong in emerging markets and, in these areas, has become the main way people connect to the Internet. Even in more established mobile markets, mobile accounts for 28 percent of the total Internet traffic and accounts for 25 percent of the total search traffic as well.
As smartphones and tablets become more prevalent, visitors’ expectations of mobile sites have increased. Visitors are expecting sites to be fully optimized for mobile, which means: fast loading speed, touch-friendly navigation, easy-to-find information and, more importantly, easy to view on smaller screens. If your site isn’t optimized, then a whopping 61 percent of visitors will immediately navigate away and will ultimately have a negative impression of your brand. If you don’t want to send your potential customers to your competitors, you need to take a mobile approach to your website design.
Mobile Users are Action-Oriented
Unlike desktop users that will spend hours researching to find more about a produce or simply to just satisfy a curiosity, mobile users are action oriented. In fact, 88 percent of users that perform searches take action within one day. Since mobile users tend to use their devices on the go, their search is with a specific intent in mind whether it’s food, products or nearby car garages. As well, mobile users are buyers. Mobile commerce has exceeded $114 billion with that number only expected to increase. It isn’t just online shopping that has increased due to mobile devices. In-store purchases are now spurred on by mobile searches. In fact, 79 percent of consumers use their phone to help with their shopping from price comparison to reading reviews.
Mobile Friendly Designs Rank Better in Google
Google has confirmed that mobile friendly sites have better page ranking in mobile search engine results. So if you aren’t optimized, your SEO will take a very hard hit. There are several different methods of smartphone mobile site design but the one Google prefers is responsive web design. Responsive sites alter the way a page renders on various devices through the implementation of a flexible CSS grid layout. This means that no matter what size the screen is, the site will always adjust to it. Google recommends this layout as there is only one URL, one bundle of content and one HTML code, which makes it much easier for its bots to index.
To take your SEO one step further, you should concentrate on localizing your business if you do have a physical address. Something as simple as listing your address and contact information can help improve your ranking when mobile users perform a local search. Considering that 95 percent of smartphone users have looked for local information at some point, just adding this information can get your site listed higher in local searches. As well, other simple features like click-to-call and embedded links to Google Maps direction can all improve your ranking and overall user experience.
Tap into the Mobile Market Now
Smartphones and tablets aren’t going to go away so not optimizing for mobile is no longer an option. But you shouldn’t just implement a mobile design and marketing strategy as an afterthought. Instead, restructure your marketing strategy with a mobile first mentality and then build from there.
About the author:
Ivan Serrano is a social media, marketing and business journalist living in the Bay Area of California.