This page was last updated on May 19, 2023.
Over the past few years, we have seen a significant switch from the use of desktop computers to mobile devices, which has influenced the way Google and other search engines index and rank sites.
Since Google controls 75% of the search engine market, we’ll use it as our focus for analyzing this trend of how important mobile-friendly sites are for generating quality traffic, enhancing your domain, and increasing leads.
What Is a Mobile-Friendly Website?
A mobile-friendly website is one that is designed to function and be easily navigated across all device platforms (this includes desktop, mobile, and tablet). Though there are features of desktop and mobile views that may appear different when going through a company website, the main goal of being accessible and generating conversions is still apparent.
The Rise of Mobile Devices and Searches
The overall number of searches coming from a mobile device now outnumbers searches on a desktop (Google groups desktop computers and tablets together), with mobile devices currently accounting for over 60% of the traffic.
To add to this, it is estimated that 77% of adults in the U.S. now own a smartphone, up from 35% in 2011. This number is also significantly higher (approximately 88-92%) in adults ages 18-49.
These numbers are not looking to decrease anytime soon, either. With nearly 7.5 billion people worldwide projected to be mobile users by 2025, companies and organizations must prepare to accommodate the influx of new mobile users.
How Will This Increase Affect Your Website?
Though there is an upward trend in mobile users, this data does not necessarily mean the majority of users coming to your site are using mobile devices. For example, after looking at our own website data for February of 2023, I found that approx. 64.6% of people used a desktop while approximately 34.4% found us while using a mobile device.
However, it does mean that how Google views your site will continue to evolve as mobile traffic continues to rise.
5 Ways Your Site’s Mobile Experience Could Affect Search Traffic Volume
Optimizing your website to be mobile-friendly is not only important for accessibility purposes, but it can also improve your company’s overall SEO equity.
1. Google indexes your site based on its mobile version (known as mobile-first indexing)
In other words, instead of referencing content from the desktop version of the site and indexing that copy for search engines, Google will begin to look at the content you have on the mobile version.
Because of this, some things to consider include:
- If the two are the same, then the actual content indexed is not necessarily a problem for you (we will get to other potential issues using this system later).
- However, if you have two different versions of your website for desktop and mobile, Google is using the content on the mobile version of your site to rank you, even if users are searching on a desktop.
- If the content on mobile is simply a rough outline of the desktop experience, this could negatively impact your ranking, especially as more changes are unveiled.
In general, creating a site that is responsive is a better approach than trying to make two versions for desktop and mobile. You should keep this in mind when evaluating the content management system (CMS) that you use for your business.
2. Google is looking for mobile responsiveness in evaluating user experience
For those who do not have a dedicated mobile version of their website, all desktop content will be indexed by Google, which is great.
However, there may be some other factors that could negatively affect your site.
Google wants to provide the best experience for its users, and one way it does that is by ranking sites based on how user-friendly they are. The mobile experience of your website – and more specifically, your website responsiveness – is now a key factor in this evaluation.
Some examples of tactics that can negatively affect your website include:
- You may have experienced a website that requires constant “reverse-pinching” on your smartphone screen in order to zoom and read the information, which Google recognizes as a hassle for users trying to access that content.
- Likewise, having content that is large and requires scrolling left and right to read is not ideal.
If your website is not mobile-responsive, you will likely begin to see a decrease in search volume traffic, if you haven’t already.
3. Responsiveness isn’t enough; Google is looking for user-friendliness in mobile
This may seem similar to the last point, but the mobile design of your website is very important.
You may have a site that is mobile-responsive, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is easy to use. The layout of your website on a mobile device may be difficult to navigate.
This can include:
- Unnecessary pop-ups
- Confusing navigation
- Graphics that are not to scale
- Copy that is out of order or distorted
Be sure to critically test your website on a smartphone and make adjustments to ensure it is easy for users to get to what they are looking for. You can even test out the “mobile version” of a website on your desktop by compressing the screen to about 1/3 the size of a normal screen.
4. The speed of your mobile site matters
In addition to the factors listed above, Google is also starting to take the speed of your mobile website into account for ranking purposes.
When evaluating the effectiveness of your mobile site, it is important to assess the speed. If your site takes more than a few seconds to load, many users will simply leave and find a competitor, so this factor is important beyond just SEO equity.
You can see how fast your website currently loads, on both mobile and desktop, by using the PageSpeed Insights tool. To learn more about website speed and how to boost it in 2023, feel free to watch our video regarding how to improve site speed.
5. Google has only just begun
In regards to mobile, we are anticipating even more changes to Google’s algorithm as the years go on, with even more advantages given to sites with a positive mobile experience.
If you do not have a mobile-friendly site, it is best to get ahead of things and start to make proactive changes. If your site has not experienced a drop in traffic yet, it might in the near future.
Although these changes may look daunting, working towards an effective, mobile-responsive website could give you a huge advantage in getting ahead of competitors and provide you with a boost in both traffic and leads.
Check to See If Your Site Is Mobile-Friendly
Do you want to test if your site is mobile-friendly? Check out this tool from Google!
Don’t Have a Mobile-Friendly Site Yet? Here Are 4 Reasons to Redesign
On top of user experience, mobile-first indexing, and mobile’s impact on where you rank in SERPs, here are some other facts that can convince you to redesign your website:
- 88.5% of users state they have left a site because it was non-responsive, and slow to load
- Because a website didn’t display properly on their device, 93% of people decided to leave a website
- More than 70% of users have abandoned their shopping cart due to bad user experience, which can great affect the success of your ecommerce website
- Would you return to a website after a bad experience? 88% of people said they are less likely to
Do you want to learn more about what exactly goes into making your website mobile-friendly? Well, our team has compiled the most effective solutions for you.
What Goes Into Creating a Mobile-Friendly Website?
When creating a website with mobile compatibility, there are different ways to approach its design and development. What platform your website is running off of can determine whether minimal or serious development is needed to make your content mobile-friendly.
To avoid the overall hassle of creating mobile templates for your website, your company should consider switching to WordPress. With the platform powering over 43% of all websites worldwide in 2022, it can be considered a trusted platform to host an accessible and easy-to-navigate website (our team even uses WordPress).
Additional benefits of making the switch to a WordPress website include the following:
- It is completely customizable – With numerous themes, templates, and styles to choose from, you will be able to create and maintain a website that directly reflects your brand and its overall goals.
- WordPress is extremely user-friendly – Throughout the entire build and maintenance process, WordPress is very easy to navigate. Even when troubleshooting individual issues that may occur on your website, the WordPress community offers the most up-to-date information regarding the platform, and can even be used to answer some web development-related inquiries.
- Several plugins to choose from – If you are looking to customize your website and user experience even further, the platform comes with numerous plugins that can be installed and implemented based on your needs.
- It offers a built-in blog – Having a blog on your website is not only a great way to share industry-related content with your viewers, but it is also a great way to drive organic traffic to your website. With 77% of individuals on the internet reading blogs, it is important to utilize the wants and needs of the people as part of your content strategy.
If you want to explore some of the best content management systems beyond WordPress to find the platform that works best for your business and its goals, check out our blog comparing six of the best CMS platforms.
Learn More About Mobile Search on Our Blog
For additional information regarding how to make your website even more compatible for mobile audiences, check out some of our blog posts below:
- Syndicated Content and SEO (Video)
- What Is E-E-A-T and How Does It Affect Your Content Strategy
- SEO Guide: How to Improve Your Blog Writing
- 10 Statistics to Know About CTAs
We Can Help Create a Mobile-Friendly Site for Your Business
Do you need help designing a site that is mobile-responsive, or are you looking to make changes to your current site to make it responsive? We have extensive experience in building mobile-friendly websites and increasing responsiveness for existing sites.
Contact Sixth City Marketing today so we can help boost your own site’s mobile experience!