Why should you care about mobile first? And what is it, anyway?
‘Mobile first’ simply means the design and development of a website that prioritises a user’s mobile experience over desktop. In a buying journey, potential customers move across multiple devices and channels when researching and looking for solutions. So your website needs to be responsive (scale up and down) to the device it is being viewed on, to provide the best possible user experience. This also hugely important for SEO, as Google has explicitly said it’s favouring websites that provide a positive user experience on different devices (including mobile).
What is one of the first things you do when you wake up? Check your phone? More people are shopping on their smartphones and the data shows the estimated annual spend on mobile nearly doubled from £13.5 billion (OC&C Strategy Consultants) to £27 billion (Centre for Retail Research) from 2016 to 2017 and it’s estimated to be £43 billion by 2020.
However, according to PayPal only 18% of small businesses in the UK have a website that’s mobile responsive. This means a huge percentage of companies are missing out on a sizeable amount of traffic and potential leads from mobile.
What’s the impact on Search Engine Optimisation when your site is not responsive?
In March 2018 Google announced it had started to introduce mobile first indexing meaning Google will crawl, index and rank a page based on the mobile version of a webpage, instead of the desktop version. This move is in recognition that over half of mobile searches are done on a mobile. This doesn’t mean if you don’t have a mobile version of your website that you won’t be ranked, but it is something to be aware of – if you don’t have a responsive website then you could be losing out to websites that do.
Responsive websites improve usability for those on mobiles, which in turn leads to better levels of engagement – a factor that Google is known to measure using metrics like time spent on page and bounce rate.
A further SEO benefit of responsive websites is that all your content is stored in a single place, rather than potentially duplicated across desktop and mobile-specific domains which could negatively impact how you rank, if not managed correctly.
Impact on conversions
Whilst one aim of search engine optimisation is to increase organic traffic and improve rankings, conversions are the bottom line that matter. Generally, mobile conversion rates are lower than on desktop, but they are catching up as ecommerce providers speed up the user registration and payment process. And by taking a cross-channel approach, for example, having an abandoned shopping cart email sent out to a user with a discount to complete their payment can push the customer over the line to payment.
Non-responsive websites can make it harder for a user to use your website, for example tiny buttons that are too close together and having to scroll and zoom in/out/across make it a much more difficult experience for users. These problems simply don’t exist with a responsive design. As Google webmasters tweeted on 14th June 2018:
On requirements: Neither mobile-friendliness nor a mobile-responsive layout are requirements for mobile-first indexing. Pages without mobile versions still work on mobile, and are usable for indexing. That said, it’s about time to move from desktop-only and embrace mobile 🙂
— Google Webmasters (@googlewmc) June 14, 2018
Is my website mobile friendly?
Google very helpfully have a tool called Mobile-Friendly Test – https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly This will run through your web page and diagnose any potential issues which need to be corrected.
If you don’t want to miss out on mobile traffic and need to optimise your website, speak to us today!