In 2010, few brands focused on optimizing their website for mobile visitors. They can no longer afford to dismiss these users. Mobile web traffic surpassed desktop traffic for the first time in 2015. According to Smart Insights, mobile only web traffic accounted for 13% of all online traffic that year, compared to only 11% of desktop only traffic.
Optimizing your website for mobile users is different. Part of the problem is that there are so many different mobile devices on the market, so optimizing your site for all of them can be difficult if you aren’t proficient in mobile design. Fortunately, responsive design technology has made it much easier for brands to develop sites that provide a seamless experience for all users.
Here are some reasons it is important to optimize your website for mobile users.
Search Engine Rankings
Last summer, a report from Hitwise estimated that 58% of all Google searches were conducted on mobile devices. Brands that don’t optimize their site for mobile SEO are missing out on nearly two-thirds of potential visitors. Greg Sterling of Search Engine Land writes that the results were even higher for some industries.
“A recent report from Hitwise (registration required) argues that in the US mobile search is roughly 58 percent of overall search query volume. That’s based on an average of 11 key categories and associated queries analyzed by Hitwise in its “Mobile Search: Topics and Themes” report. The company “examined hundreds of millions of online search queries” across PCs, smartphones, and tablets between April 10 and May 7, 2016. The category with the highest percentage of mobile search volume was “Food & Beverage,” with 72 percent. The category with the lowest volume was banking, with 39 percent (or 61 percent on the desktop),” Sterling writes.
Sites are more likely to rank if they are optimized for a mobile user experience. Keep in mind that Google ranks websites according to the quality of their content and the navigability of their site. If your site isn’t easy for mobile visitors to use, your rankings will suffer accordingly.
Your brand recognition hinges on your ability to engage customers well. You can have the best product in the world, but customers won’t purchase from you or recommend your brand if they can’t use your site.
Recent polls show that customers take their mobile experience very seriously. One poll showed that 80% of customers wouldn’t do business with a company that offered a poor experience on their mobile device.
You need to engage with customers in multiple verticals if you want to earn a reasonable ROI from your online marketing strategy. While brands invest most heavily in organic search and PPC when they create a digital marketing strategy, it is also important to invest in a strong social media presence and optimize your channels for mobile devices. A social media advertising management company can help you if you get stuck.
There are entire agencies that dedicate themselves to optimizing local websites for mobile users. However, mobile UX is even more important for e-commerce websites.
If customers can’t navigate your site, they won’t be able to make purchases. Don’t assume that they will work through the kinks or wait until they can access your site from their desktop. If you lose them while they visit your site on a mobile device, they will probably never come back.
Many Brands Are Still Failing to Adapt their Sites for Mobile Users
Mobile technology is no longer in its infancy. There is no reason for brands to ignore the importance of optimizing their site for mobile users. Unfortunately, Daniel Foley states that too many are ignoring it altogether.
“While responsive design has been around for some years now and is well established, there seems to be a gulf in rolling this method of design out to mobile platforms. In a nutshell, most sites are still being built for desktop internet access and being modified to be more accessible to mobile devices almost as an afterthought. Have you tried filling in a form on a mobile device recently? It is virtually impossible. This applies to many areas in this category and it needs to change in 2017.”
This is bad news for companies that are going to lose a large share of organic search traffic and watch their brand reputations suffer. However, it is a great opportunity for companies that take mobile design seriously.
Responsive design models have developed a couple of years ago. Brands need to start implementing them if they want to stay relevant in a world that is becoming more mobile every day.