Google, the search engine with the lion's share within the search engine industry, launched an algorithmic changed deemed "Mobilegeddon" to favor sites that are "mobile-friendly" this April.
Google wrote in an official statement that the goal of the update was to help "find content that's not only relevant and timely, but also easy to read and interact with on smaller mobile screens." By putting "mobile-friendly" under mobile search results on Google, they signal what sites are informative, contextually relevant, and mobile compatible.
With roughly 50 percent of searches are done via mobile phones, it's crucial to update your website for mobile compatibility. Here are a few quick tips to better optimize your content so it ranks in mobile searches:
1. Improve Mobile Navigation
An EPiServer survey revealed one-third of mobile websites are difficult to navigate. To make sure that your mobile navigation is user friendly do some of the following things:
a) Reduce layers of navigation
b) Use icons versus lists
c) Add one-click checkouts
d) Have a prominent site search
e) Make sure the "back" button is accessible
SiteTuners offers some great advice for mobile navigational optimization.
2. Design for Mobile
Unlike desktop Web pages, mobile screens are tiny, so it's important to design with the mobile user in mind with columned content, white space, riveting icons and a vibrant call-to-action button. More than anything, save your mobile visitors time by designing content that's legible without zooming. Also consider use of flash, cookies, frames, tables and funky fonts, as these do not always translate from desktop to mobile.
3. Optimize Mobile Load Times
Believe it or not, load time affects your business' bottom line. Even mobile users do not have the patience for a slow loading time and are apt to abandon the page if it takes more than 6 seconds to abandon a page, according to Kissmetrics. Forty percent of visitors will flee a site if it takes even 3 seconds to load. Load times are likely one of Google's secret ranking factors as well, so across mobile and desktop websites, make sure your pages load fast.
4. Simplify Content
Mobile readers are almost always on the go, so create content that is bite-sized and easy to scan. Use bullet points, lists, and segmented content versus long paragraph blocks. As marketers battle shorter attention spans, it's all the more important to create simple content that can easily be viewed on a smaller mobile screen.
5. Avoid 404s
404 errors are a bane for mobile visitors; and it's a missed opportunity to connect with potential mobile readers. Maria Shinkevich, CMO of the native advertising solution MGID reported in a recent Website Magazine post, "Well, anything is better than 404 page. You can show the desktop version instead or offer a choice between desktop version and homepage."
6. Take the Google "Mobile-Friendly" Test
Though many of Google's tools come with a premium, Google's "Mobile-Friendly" test page does not. Use this quiz by typing in a desired URL and seeing if it passes the test.
With around 2 billion mobile users worldwide, you can see the importance of appearing in the top results of Google mobile search results. Mobile friendliness means the difference of visitors seeing your website or not. Make your website easy to access on mobile, because if not your website will fall to the wayside on Google search results. The good news is many website builders offer a mobile friendly applications so you can design both for desktop and mobile devices.
Above else: simplicity always wins when it comes to website design. Keep fonts, content, imagery and navigation simple, and you will likely see your business ranked well on mobile devices.
Allie Gray Freeland is a Marketing Communications Consultant based in Kansas City, KS. A graduate of the University of Minnesota - School of Journalism, her passion lies in the art of business communication. While not working she's hanging out with her Goldendoodles, son Bennett, and husband Ryan. Connect with her on Twitter at @AllieGrayFree.