Search engine optimization or SEO is a practice that continuously grows and evolves. It’s difficult to predict when Google’s algorithm changes and what contains those revisions. One of the most significant ones was the shift to being mobile-friendly first. It rolled out in 2016, giving websites with mobile-friendly websites an additional ranking boost in search results. If you want to make your site SEO-friendly, it needs to be mobile-friendly. But what does it mean for a site to be “mobile-friendly?” and why is it so important?
The Switch to a Mobile-first Internet
Before the 2010s, computers dominated the internet. They were the only devices with adapters and ports that could access the web through broadband and Wi-Fi. However, mobile phones started to evolve rapidly. The iPhone and Android-powered phones not only started to have wi-fi capabilities, but also access to high-speed mobile data connections like 3G and 4G-LTE. Developers were also heavily investing in creating mobile applications for their search engines and social media sites. This gave mobile users better access to the internet.
In fact, in 2016, mobile internet usage surpassed computers. Over 51.3% of traffic came from phones and tablets and about 48.7% came from computers. Over 32.89 million mobile phones connect to the internet in Australia, according to We Are Social’s Digital 2020 report. It also found that for the U.S., mobile phones dominate web traffic. Over 47.5% of Australians access the web through their phones. Around 45.3% of website traffic came from desktops and laptops, 7.1% came from tablets and 0.1% came from other devices like game consoles.
There’s no way around it. Today’s internet users are mobile-first and that’s why Google incentivizes websites to be mobile-friendly. It doesn’t want searchers to tap on websites with images and fonts that are too big and look horrible on their phone. Plus, slow-loading websites are a no-no, especially for mobile users. Most people leave sites if they load for more than three seconds.
How to Make Your Site Mobile-friendly
Now that you know the importance of a mobile-friendly website, it’s time to make your business site easily accessible for phones and tablets. Here’s how to do it.
Check if Your Site is Mobile-friendly
The mobile-friendliness of your site depends on when it was built, how many updates it’s gone through. And if you used a website builder or made your site from scratch, you may not have to do much work and make changes to your site if it’s already mobile-friendly. This can easily be tested using your own smart devices. Go through every page to see if it fits and adapts to your screen.
If you don’t have the time to do the method above, you could also use Google’s mobile-friendly testing tool. Just paste your homepage URL into the box and the application will scan your site. In a few seconds, Google will tell you whether your site is mobile-friendly or not. It’ll also show a screenshot of what your site will look like on a mobile device. The app will also provide recommendations as to how to make your site even more mobile-friendly.
Focus on Responsiveness
If your site fails Google’s mobile-friendliness test, it’s probably not responsive. Responsive website design involves making a site render and load properly on a wide variety of screen and window sizes, from tiny, 5-inch smartphones to gigantic 40-inch TVs. It uses HTML and CSS code to automatically resize your website’s elements and hide some of them according to the size of the display.
If you want to do it yourself, Google Developers has a fantastic guide on creating a responsive website from scratch. You could also hire a website designer and developer to overhaul all your webpages and make them responsive.
Speed It Up
As discussed earlier, customers leave websites that load slowly. This is more apparent in mobile phones, as users may use data connections that are less consistent and slower than Wi-Fi. ; Here things you can do to speed up your site.
- Minify Your Code. This involves removing spaces and unnecessary or redundant code without affecting the functionality of your site. Fortunately, you and your developers don’t have to pore through every line of code to do so. There are apps that Google recommends like HTMLMinifier, CSSNano and UglifyJS that do the job automatically for you.
- Optimize Your Pictures. Your website’s high-resolution images may take a while to load because of their file size as well. You can compress them using tools like TinyJPG and TinyPNG so that users can download them on their phones faster.
More and more of your customers are looking for products and services using their mobile devices. You don’t want them to turn away because they’re greeted with a clunky site that loads slowly on their phones. Use these methods to make your website mobile-friendly, and your customers will surely stay and convert.