Mobile Marketing in 2017
SEO in 2017 will see more and more businesses optimizing on their mobile SEO as they seek the high number of traffic on mobile devices. Optimization of the mobile sites will give business a competitive advantage in 2017. Even the biggest companies in the world would benefit a lot by optimizing their mobile sites and making the easy to navigate. Mobile optimization is a great opportunity to forge your business ahead and get to reap the benefits that come with mobile sites. There are several reasons to ensure your making use of these sites as you make your business reach a variety of potential customers.
Statistics taken from the Goggle promotional sites clearly shows the importance of these mobile sites and how they can help grow your business. The statistics further illustrate the importance of optimizing the mobile sites. Here are some of the statistics to simply show you why you need to take your mobile optimization seriously in 2017:
• There is an increase in the number of people using mobile phones each year across the world. The number of people searching for information on certain goods and services through their mobile devices is greater than those searching using their computers.
• These high numbers of people are more likely to leave a site if they find it is not mobile friendly. Nobody would want to spend time on a site that is difficult to navigate.
• More than half of the mobile users are likely to leave a site if it is taking too long to load. Too long to load is simply more than three seconds as these people usually browse when on the go and don’t want to waste time waiting for a site to load.
Views generated by mobile sites are higher than what you get from computer searches. This goes to show the importance of making your site mobile friendly. Sites that are slow receive less traffic as people don’t have the patience to wait for the page to load. It even gets worse when the mobile data networks are bad. Your site might not even receive a single visit if all these factors work against you.
The mobile first index
Mobile sites have been good for a long time now, but 2017 is the year you need to take them seriously and get the higher ranking your business has been looking for together with high conversion rates. The mobile first index is a philosophy that will kill most desktop searches but makes complete sense as more people search through their mobile devices. The ranking of sites is still based on the desktop version of a site, but the adoption of the mobile first index will surely kill most businesses that have not made their sites mobile user-friendly.
When the mobile first index takes place, links and content on your mobile sites together with good user experience and speed will be a game changer for your business. Your visibility online will greatly improve. The desktops will still play an important role but a secondary one to mobile index first. Every sign for this happening is on the wall. You need to be prepared and have a competitive advantage over your rivals in advance. It is never easy getting all these done but every effort you put into making your site more mobile friendly is worth. You stay ahead of your rival before they can change their sites and take advantage of the period when the mobile index first gets adopted.
A mobile-friendly approach
Getting prepared is simply being mobile friendly. Making it easier for people to get any information they want from your site using their mobile devices without any problems. You have to deliver a mobile friendly content. People will not be encouraged to read long articles on the mobile devices. The following three approaches will help make your mobile site user-friendly:
• Dynamic content
• A responsive web design
• Separate mobile URLs
All these are great ways to make mobile sites friendly. The Responsive web design is not a new concept but one that has been in use for years. However, even if the site has a responsive web design, it still must provide a good user experience. A responsive web design is just a small part of what is needed to get your mobile friendly website. Optimizing your mobile site is more important that it was years back.
While developing your new site or upgrading an old one, mobile optimization is one crucial thing to look at. There are several tools Google uses to test the mobile usability. The Google Search Console also gives a report on the problem encountered page-by-page helping you know what to deal with when improving experience for the users. These are crucial SEO tools every business should utilize when creating a new site. The Search Console will help keep tabs on all the problems your site encounters page-by-page for the entire lifetime of the site.
Issues the Search Console looks at
1. Use of flash
Unlike desktops, mobile users will not use flash. You will need to come up with modern technologies that work well with the mobile devices.
2. Configuration of the Viewport
Can users configure a page on your site to suit the size of their mobile device screen? You must have the viewport meta tag that helps the users scale a page down to the right size fitting their mobile devices.
3. Fixed width viewport
The fixed width viewport is a problem that tries to create a fixed width pages but can easily be solved by having a good responsive web design. Adopting a responsive web design will help solve it.
4. Content bot sized to viewport
This is a case where a page does not fit the window of the mobile device. The user has to scroll to read all the information. Rather than using the fixed width, this can easily be solved by using the relative width.
5. Small font size
Issues with a small font size can easily be solved by the users. The users will be required to pinch the screen to be able to zoom in what they can’t see.
6. When the touch screen is too close
The touch screen being too close to other tabs on your site is a common issue most sites face. Here, users have problem tapping certain elements without touching those that are close. You probably have seen this when trying to tap an element close to another one. You might have to zoom in to be able to tap exactly what you want.
7. Interstitial usages
This is something that is quite annoying to users and one that Google is looking to crack down on in 2017. Users get annoyed with pop-ups on their mobile device that affect the user experience. This is one thing to deal with before Google cracks the whip in 2017.
It is win-win situation for users and businesses if we businesses can detect these problems and solve them. These technical elements are usually monitored by Google and reported to Webmasters. Dealing with them will improve the usability of your site that will be graded by Google. The end results are usually a good user experience that leads to higher traffic, higher rankings and good conversion rates. You can almost be assured of taking your business to a completely new level by making your site more users friendly.
The following resources can come in handy with your mobile optimization
For mobile usability report: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/6101188?hl=en
For mobile friendly websites: https://developers.google.com/webmasters/mobile-sites/
For mobile friendly tests: https://search.google.com/search-console/mobile-friendly
The speed of a page
Speed is so crucial when people are searching on their mobile devices in search for quick answers to their problems. Nobody wants to spend more time on a page that is taking way too long to load. Pages can load pretty faster on Wi-Fi networks, but the same cannot be said when loading on mobile data networks. The introduction of 4G is something that has played a major role. However, there are several best practices businesses can use to help improve their mobile page speeds. The PageSpeed Insights tool by Google is a great way to know how fast our pages load and what can be done to improve the speed.
The PageSpeed insights are built together with the mobile-friendly test. These are the links you can use:
For mobile friendly test: https://search.google.com/search-console/mobile-friendly
For website test: https://testmysite.withgoogle.com/
The Accelerated Mobile Pages better known as AMP was designed to enable pages that loaded slowly to load faster. However, mobile page speed can be improved without considering the AMP. Being fast is important if you want to remain visible online. Both your users and search engines will be happy with your sites.
Here are some crucial page speed resources you can use in addition to the two above:
For Google Analytics: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1205784?hl=en
For making the web faster: https://developers.google.com/speed/
For AMP pages: https://www.ampproject.org/
Mobile user experience
Mobile users expect to spend less time looking for what they want without encountering any problems. Having a mobile friendly web design and good page speed plays a key role in achieving all that, but you still need more. For a complete mobile user experience, the users must get what they want in a short time and on their terms. Focusing on the mobile user experience will complete the mobile friendly site and give you the expected results. The user must achieve his or her set goals whenever they visit your site on their terms to have a positive mobile user experience. This is what makes them come again and again. Understand the goals of the user and how your site well matches their needs. Test for devices usability in a certain demographic region and understand all the implications on how users interact with your site.
A checklist for mobile optimization
Once all the three key components of a user-friendly mobile site have been fulfilled, you will need to go through the following checklist based on these three components. The components were discussed earlier (Responsive web design, page speed and mobile design and usability).
Almost all mobile sites have a huge potential for improvement and optimization. For any basic mobile site friendliness, refer to this checklist:
Homepage and site navigation
• Menus should be short and sweet
• Call to action should be front and center
• Easy to get back to home page
• Promotions should not steal the show
Basic mobile optimization
• Page speeds
• Responsive web design
• Hosting speed
• Let the site be visible
• Search results should be relevant
• Improve search usability by implementing filters
• Guide the users on how to better get what they want
• Each task should have the simplest input method
• The form entry should be streamlined
• A visual calendar for choosing dates
• Label to minimize errors
Commerce and conversion
• Give users a chance to explore first before committing
• Maximize convenience using existing information
• Complex tasks should have a click to call button
• Allow users to purchase as guests
• Converting to another device should be easy
Form factor and usability
• Entire mobile site should be optimized
• Images should be expandable
• Users should not pinch to zoom in
• Keep the users in one browser window
• Tell the users the screen orientation that works best
• Tell users why you need location
Make sure you have this list with you at all times you develop a mobile site.
The competitive advantage of mobile optimization
Going through this list gives you more than just the basics of what you need to make your mobile user interface friendly but also the obvious things that we tend to forget. The experience for the users should be amazing. Make it goal driven where every user who visits your site spends more time on it even after getting what they are looking. Putting your focus on the above list and information will result in mobile sites that load with amazing speeds and are a pleasure to use on mobile devices.
It is never easy to create a competitive advantage nowadays. This is a one in a lifetime opportunity for all business to get a competitive edge over their rivals by reading the trends. Let 2017 be your year where your focus on mobile users gives you visibility and boosts your conversion rates.
Edward Kundahl, Ph.D., M.B.A.
Ed can be reached at (or visit his websites)