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Mobile Optimization a Must for Search Ranking

When clients ask me if I can build them a website, I always ask them why they want a website. This confuses some people, but I believe that it is the most important question and one that people don’t spend enough time thinking about.

Every website is unique, and it’s important to clearly articulate your site’s purpose from the start. If you are building a site to advertise your business then it will look rather different than if the site itself is the service your company offers (for example, craigslist).

Google rankings are one of the most important factors for the success of most websites. A report by chitika.com suggests that 92% of traffic generated from search comes from the first page of Google search results. Only 5% comes from the second page of results, and any website ranking past page three is about as visible as a post-it note on a cluttered desk. In other words, people click on links in the first page of search results and maybe the second. Any websites ranking beyond those two pages are hidden from most users. Page ranking is very significant!

chart google traffic

If your website traffic is dependent on organic leads from search engines, then dropping from the first to the second page of results could nearly halt incoming traffic.

The report goes even deeper, breaking down click-through rates for site ranking within the first page based on their order. (See the full report here.)

percentage

Not surprisingly, the first position commands nearly 1/3 of all traffic from the first page of results. A search ranking position below 5th place generated less than 1/20th of total traffic. It is obvious, then, that increasing your ranking in search results drives traffic to your site. Simply moving up from 6th to 5th position represents an increase in traffic of 39%! Moving from 2nd to 1st position can almost double the traffic to your site!

chart

Ranking high in search results is a competitive business. Your competition is in the same boat, and they are constantly trying to edge you from your position.

So how can you get ahead of your competition in Google’s search ranking for your site’s keywords? There is no easy answer. And even if you did “figure it out,” “it” would change quickly, as Google is constantly updating their algorithm and uses a variety of factors to calculate rankings.

Among these factors is your sites compatibility with different browsers and – increasingly – its compatibility with mobile devices. Google recently announced a major shift in their algorithm, specifying that compatibility with mobile devices will take a much more prominent role in search ranking than ever before.

Matt-Cutts-Mobile-Tweet

(Link to Tweet)

While in the past compatibility with mobile devices gave you a slight advantage over your competition, now having a mobile-friendly website is an absolute necessity. It’s part of the minimum requirements for any site.

Mobile-stats-vs-desktop-users-global-550x405

(Link)

Many online stores were not initially concerned about mobile traffic, either because they didn’t rely on mobile for sales or because they didn’t feel that the traffic volume from mobile devices was enough to warrant costly optimization. Recent statistics, however, show that mobile traffic now makes up a significant portion of Internet browsing. Mobile surpassed desktop as the most common device for web browsing in 2014.

Even if you think your business doesn’t need mobile traffic, your overall search engine rankings rely on your support for mobile browsers.

This change is going to shake things up for everyone who relies on Google for a steady supply of fresh website visitors. As we saw earlier, online businesses that are not ready could see themselves slip several positions in the ranking, potentially representing thousands or millions of dollars in sales.

Here at WebiNerds we are contacted every week by clients with requests to either improve the mobile compatibility of their websites or to simply verify that they are already compatible and ready for Google’s switch.

Obviously, your site must display properly on all mobile devices – and at any resolution. But beyond that, here are some other questions to consider:

  • Are the links and forms on your site optimized for use with mobile browsers?
  • Has your site been optimized for (potentially) slower data connections on mobile devices?
  • What is the click-through-rate of your mobile traffic?
  • How well does your site perform compared to your competitors’ sites?

At WebiNerds we have been building mobile-friendly websites for years, and all of the sites that we create today are fully compliant with Google’s new requirements.

Feel free to contact us for an assessment of your website. Make sure that you’re mobile-ready and prepared to stay competitive in your Google – and other search engine – rankings!

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