By Todd Paton
When digital marketing and social media guru Gary Vaynerchuk said several years ago that “the mobile device is now the television and the television is now the radio” few people really understood the gravity of his observation.
Three years later, businesses throughout the world are nodding in agreement.
Today, more than 50 percent of website traffic originates from cell phones. As this number increases, it becomes more critical that websites perform efficiently and are compatible with cell phones.
Come July 2019, Google will be updating its algorithms and slow-loading mobile sites will suffer the consequences that could result in a significant decrease in traffic. So, if your business relies on website traffic it would serve you well to become familiar with what Google expects in regard to compatibility and performance on cell phones.
This move reflects the growing trend reflecting an increase in cell phones as the primary path to website commerce. So, it certainly makes sense that as the world’s largest search engine, Google is adapting and those relying on their websites must adapt, as well.
For years, customers have used websites as a measure of how trustworthy and professional a business is – along with looking at reviews. A modern, fast and compelling website builds trust in your brand and can convert visitors into customers. You’ve worked hard to build your brand, so it’s important to keep pace with Google.
The major change is that cell phone access to websites has increased, leaving desktops lagging as the path to online commerce. Google rankings are at risk – whether it’s through PPC or SEO initiatives. Today, almost 53 percent of website traffic starts with cell phones. Last year, it was approximately 50 percent. This dynamic will only increase in the coming years.
It’s in the best interest of all businesses to become familiar with what Google expects so that proper adjustments to websites can be made quickly and accurately.
The following are some of the website features that are important:
- Crawlability & Indexing
- Website Speed
- Domain Metrics
- Website Audit
- Website Usability
And while these criteria are technical in nature, they are among the main features Google will be analyzing when it comes to website accessibility through cell phones. It’s in your best interest to consult with your website development/maintenance firm to make sure they’re aware of Google’s plans.
These terms are basically “GoogleSpeak”, which when translated to layman’s language really means that it’s important for website visitors to have a good user experience. This will result in ease of navigation, improved rankings, SEO, and ultimately increased conversion rates.
A good first step is to access your website through a cell phone. Does it download quickly? Can the user navigate through the site quickly? Today, your website better perform as well on the cell phone–or better–as it does on a desktop.
The following are other pointers that can improve the performance of your website:
- Make regular updates to your website (Blogging is the easiest way to do this)
- Insert social media icons you are active on (Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, etc.) on your site to facilitate the sharing of information
- Use Google Analytics, a free service that tracks website traffic
- Incorporate VIDEO on your website!
- Use internal links to enhance navigation
- Speak with your website developer about Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). This is an open-source initiative developed to dramatically improve the performance of the mobile web
The world of online marketing continues to change rapidly. Today, it requires websites to be more accessible through cell phones. In the near future, Google will have new requirements when it comes to marketing services and products.
This is the reality of working with Google. Keep in mind, the online world is Google’s sandbox, and we must play by their rules.
Your business depends on it.
Todd Paton is President of Paton Marketing (www.patonmarketing.com), a digital marketing and website development firm in Pompano Beach, FL. It is one of the few developers in the country that has been selected to participate in the Google Elevator Program. Google selected a handful of digital marketing firms for a series of seminars that educate them on best practices to generate the best results for clients. We have created a complimentary service allowing businesses to audit their sites to find out where they are deficient. To access this service, visit www.patonmarketing.com/audit-your-site/