An often overlooked part of your website strategy is how easily the site can be viewed on a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet. The little computers we carry with us each and every day and have become such a huge part of our lives.
Just how often are we using our phones to research things online, instead of getting out our laptops?
Google reports that 94% of mobile users in the USA use their phones to search for information, and 77% of mobile searches occur from the user's home or workplace. This means that people are showing a strong preference towards using their mobile devices to look things up, rather than using their laptop or desktop computers - even when the computer is right there in the room with them!
Those are not small statistics by any means. And while I don't have exact statistics for here in Canada, you can bet the situation is very similar here.
Because of this, Google started penalizing sites that are not mobile-friendly back in April of this year. This means that if someone is searching for something on their phone, sites that are optimized for the mobile user will rank higher than sites that are not.
So you might be wondering, what exactly does 'optimized' mean?
In short, it means your site can be easily used on smaller devices, without requiring the user to zoom in. The text, images, and other elements should be sized in such a way that they are easy to read and understand on a small screen. Links should be easy to click with your finger or thumb.
Something important to note is that this does not mean your website has to look the same on a laptop vs a smaller device. Rather, it should be created in such a way that it will detect what sort of device the person is using, and give them the website that will look the best for them. The best way to handle this for most folks is to use a little something we call responsive design (which I'll talk about in a future post, promise!).
What does that mean for you?
Well, if your website is already mobile-friendly, nothing, really! You're already good-to-go.
If your website is not mobile-friendly, or you're building a brand new website, it is really important to give serious thought to mobile design.
Making your site mobile-friendly isn't necessarily hard to do, though! For more information, check out Google's own mobile guide. You can also verify your own site is ready by going to this mobile-friendly test.
Got questions about this? Just leave a comment!