Tiny Screens, Fat Fingers & The Demise of Your Website in Online Search Results

Scott GeorgeMobile Marketing, Search Engine Optimization

Scott2-1For the first time, your website being “mobile-friendly” is going to have a measurable impact on your business. Before we get into this, stop reading and do a search on Google for the product or service that you offer in the location that you serve. For Proximo, I may type into Google “SEO Companies in Virginia.”

Okay, now that you’re back, you may have noticed that your website fell down in search from the last time you checked. If your company is on top of its digital marketing game, you may have noticed that it went up. Was it dramatic? Is it going to cause pain or gain? If you are used to seeing your site somewhere on page one of SERPs1, then it probably will.

Showing up high in search results is important for attracting buyers who are “in the market” for what you offer. On April 21st, Google changed its algorithm to favor websites that are mobile-friendly. Why you ask? It’s simple. More and more website visits are coming from mobile devices. This year, we will see 50% of all website visits coming from mobile devices. If you’re Google and your goal is providing great search results, ensuring that the majority of users can view/interact with the content that appears in SERPs is important.

From your perspective, giving the visitors to your website a great experience is critical. If someone comes to your site and it takes too long to load, they can’t read the text on your pages and the buttons and links are difficult to tap on a touchscreen device because they are too small, the user will go to another website to get the information they are looking for.

So let’s take a look at a few aspects of what a mobile-friendly site may include:

  • Time-to-Load Optimization – Ensuring that pictures on a website aren’t too large (size in kilobytes, not in pixels), that code is clean, that multimedia is hosted off-site are some of the things that you can do to speed up the load time of your website. Google already penalizes slow loading website by pushing them lower in SERPs.
  • Bye-Bye Pinch & Zoom – Ahh, the early days of the iPhone, when you had to turn your device sideways, pinch the screen with your finger and constantly scroll back and forth to read a few paragraphs. Who has the time? If your site isn’t responsive (i.e. text is large enough to read, contents rearrange themselves so that all a mobile user has to do is scroll down) you are probably already losing visitors.
  • Tappable Buttons – Buttons aren’t just to get your calls-to-action to stand out anymore. They have a functional purpose. Often found in a non-responsive website, buttons that are too small to tap on with a fat thumb will cause users unnecessary frustration. The same goes for links. Fortunately, responsive website resize everything so that those fat thumbs can tap away.

On the surface, these things define what it means to be mobile-friendly. There is a much more that goes into ensuring your website shows up high in search results (for instance in our article about Big Ideas), but having a great website that is optimized for mobile is now something that should be on your radar. One last thing you should consider as this shapes your decision-making, there are two different ways to go mobile:

  • Desktop Website + Mobile Website – This depicts a scenario when you had a great website for desktops and laptops, but the mobile frenzy came and you decided to get another website that was specifically designed for mobile devices.
  • One Responsive Website – This is when you have just one website that adapts to the devices that is accessing it. It will look different on your desktop, laptop, tablet and smartphone.

There is a clear option that is better than the other: one responsive website. First and foremost, having a single website will cut down on the time it takes to edit your online content. What you may not have thought about, however, is that your mobile website probably doesn’t have as much content as your main website. In the world of SEO2, content is king. If you have a mobile website that doesn’t have all of the content that your desktop website does, it probably is not on page one of Google SERPs if it ever was before.

So does all of this mean you need to get a new website? Maybe not. If your site is already on WordPress, great news! You can upgrade (the same is probably true for any other CMS3). If your site is not on WordPress or some other CMS, it’s probably time for an upgrade anyway. The ability to quickly, easily and inexpensively update your website is a must for the survival of your business in the 21st Century.

If it is time to make a change – we want to hear from you! The basic education we provide is always free and we’re pretty confident that you’ll like us too.

  1. SERP – Search Engine Results Page (Often used by search engine optimizers for clarity).
  2. SEO – Search Engine Optimization. The act of improving a website so it will appear higher in SERPs.
  3. CMS – Content Management System. A platform used to manage web content. Often includes tools to help with SEO. The most commonly used platform is WordPress.

My name is Scott George. I’ve been with Proximo Marketing since 2013 and I’ve done just about everything that we do. Mainly, I spend my time working to move our clients websites higher in search results. While it always takes some time, I’ve been successful at getting a majority of our long-time customers to the top of Google SERPs (that means #1 in search engines). In addition to being the resident SEO guy, I am also the operations manager and I head up a few of the accounts that we manage.
I am a 2012 Christopher Newport University graduate with a Bachelor of Science in marketing. I currently live in Poquoson and thoroughly enjoy my drive to and from work on Interstate 64. My passion for marketing was forged when I was younger and I knew I wanted to work with metrics and analytics. I also enjoy helping businesses grow efficiently and resourcefully.