originally published 10/28/2017 - updated 9/21/2019
For years, Google has warned web developers that websites need to be mobile friendly.
And so, developers would incorporate a mobile component onto their client’s websites. These websites that look graphically brilliant on a desktop or laptop, weren’t that stunning on a smartphone, tablet or mobile device. In fact, some just were plain awful looking. Not to mention didn’t rank for darn.
Then in 2015, Google announced to the world that mobile search had officially surpassed searching from a desktop. Which meant that those searching preferred using their small devices over their bulkier counterparts. And this is when Google made the decision to do something a bit dramatic.
They not only changed the game, they changed the rules to the game and added multiple rules for multiple scenarios.
No longer would searches be geared to a universal code or a one-size-fits-all cookie cutter platform.
Nope, now there would be rules for mobile and rules for desktop searches.
So if your website ranked on Page 1 of Google while searching from your desktop there is no guarantee that your website would be on the same page viewing from your smartphone. Which resulted in those paying big bucks to SEO companies crying foul. The SEO companies were still relying on “old-school” techniques to rank their client’s websites, which did help, but only if people were searching from a desktop.
The problem is the majority of people with internet-enabled devices do most of their web surfing from that device and that website that was ranking on Page 1 is now on Page 3 of their search.
If it’s not on Page 1, guess what?
That’s right, nobody is going to find it.
The reason why that website that was on Page 1 viewing from a desktop is now on Page 3 on a mobile comes down to what Google calls “micro-moments”. These are “in-the-now” moments which impact how SERP (search engine results page) is constructed for each individual user’s search results. The micro-moments dictate the content that will appear. Google tries to interpret your intent in searching for various information and then extrapolates the best results.
So, if you are looking for a restaurant, Google will display the local 3-pack. That’s the section up top of the page usually directly under the ads. The 3-pack displays a map and 3 local businesses that matches your criteria.
Now, if your search is more of a “I want to know” something, then Google will display a quick answer instead of a dozen listings. And based on your search history or location at the time, and intent, Google will vary the number and placement of images and videos on the search page.
Website developers and online marketers must now take into account “micro-moments” and establish protocols to deal with desktop and mobile SEO. Because, well… 57% of all searches come from a smartphone, tablet or mobile friendly device.
Here Are 4 Tips To Remember When Optimizing Your Website
- Differentiate Between Mobile and Desktop Keywords & Phrases – since most mobile devices automatically detect your location, consumers tend to not include a location area in their typed services. And with the advent of voice enabled services like Siri, Alexa, and Cortana keywords tend to be shorter using mobile.
- The Faster The Better – page load times are very important and if the website loads slow or poorly, that tells Google that it’s not really designed for mobile devices.
- Be Truly Mobile Friendly – pictures, videos and infographics that are used on webpages designed for desktop viewing may not be viewed the same on mobile. If the viewer needs to strain to see the image or video or “pinch” the screen to make such things bigger. The site needs a friendlier design.
- Track Traffic & Engagement – visits, engagement rates, click-thru’s, conversions and revenue rates are things every website should be doing. Now, add in how your mobile viewers are interacting with your site.
If you want to test your website with Google’s mobile friendly testing tool here’s the link… https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly
Just a side note and full disclosure I tested my website to see if it was truly mobile friendly and yes it was. Although Google’s testing tool revealed a few areas where improvements could be made and showed the link to the image, script or other items that needed fixed. Some script (code) was actually 3rd party pixels for retargeting on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn.
Mobile requires a different mindset to attract and engage the viewer. So adapting your website to be truly mobile friendly will have you appearing in higher search results.
But here’s the thing…focus on your mobile users first. Make them the priority. So when you’re developing content, make sure it’s mobile friendly first and desktop worthy second. Because doing it the other way around, creating content for desktop then forcing it to be mobile friendly, just doesn’t doesn’t cut it.
Here’s a few more resources that you might find interesting…