There is no doubt that mobile consumes a large share of people’s time today. A recent study in the USA found that its citizens spend over 5 hours a day on their devices. When you look at the UAE, this is almost comparable with residents spending about 4 hours a day online on their mobile phones. So it came as no surprise to all of us in the search community when Google released its mobile friendly update in 2015, penalizing websites for not having mobile-friendly pages. Simply put, not having a mobile-optimized website is no longer an option, if brands are looking to compete for their audiences’ attention.
If you haven’t started already, here are a few different ways to configure your mobile website:
- Create a responsive website: This serves the same code for all devices but renders the display according to screen size. What that means is that you’ll be able to view the website clearly, no matter what device you’re viewing it on. This option is simple in that it uses the same URL and HTML.
- Create a dynamic website: This technique uses the same URLs but generates different versions of the HTML for devices types, based on what the server knows about the user’s browser. This option uses the same URL but different HTML.
- Create separate URLs: serves different URLs than those on the website and different code to each device. This option uses different URLs and HTML, which means you risk creating duplicate content for search engines if you aren’t careful.
What’s the best option? We recommend creating a responsive website as your best bet. Not only is it best practice, Google recommends it for several reasons:
- It easily adapts to any screen size
- You only have one version of the website, therefore you don’t have any content duplication
- You’re only using one URL
- It requires less engineering to maintain
- It’s easier for users to share across different devices
- And finally, it’s easier to index for search engines
SO WHY IS HAVING A MOBILE-FRIENDLY WEBSITE SO IMPORTANT?
The proliferation of the medium is one indicator, but what other factors contribute to making mobile so important?
Mobile traffic is ever-increasing
Most of the traffic to websites today come from mobile, according to research by Statcounter. It’s a critical to think about how your website is ready to welcome this traffic and make the user journey as enjoyable and easy as possible.
Differing user behaviors
Mobile user behavior is different than that of desktops. The mobile user tends to search for information or proceed with an action they don’t want to postpone or delay. With this in mind, you need to design and adapt your site to enhance such user experiences.
It contributes to the conversion funnel
In the conversion life cycle, mobile will inevitably be involved at some point. Users frequently switch screens during the purchasing process. If a website isn’t optimized for different screen types, you risk losing this conversion.
In summary, brands must ensure they have a mobile version of their website that gives users the optimal experience that satisfies their needs. Bear in mind that users may actually be visiting your website for the first time from their phones. If you get the mobile user experience right, you help ensure that these consumers convert.
Furthermore, having a mobile-optimized site is critical to being easily searchable. It will boost your rankings and thereby build brand affinity. If you want to know more about optimizing your site for mobile, get in touch with us.
This piece was written by one of our SEO experts, Mohamed Yahya.