- Category: June 2018 - Mobile & Video Marketing
Apparently, mobile optimization, the preparation of the corporate website for optimal display on smartphones and tablets, is deemed negligible by many marketing or sales decision makers - in the otherwise often very innovative, industrial companies.
Considering that by now more than 50% of website accesses worldwide are via smartphones, and the proportion of mobile searches is increasing, leads to two problems for website operators:
- Punishment by Google in the search results: Already since 2015, Google rates websites that are poorly portrayed on smartphones and tablets worse and let them appear further down on the search results list (SERP). An official statement on Google's Webmaster blog states that the Google search algorithm adapts to people's changing (mobile) search habits. Then, in October 2016, Google also made clear that the mobile index would replace the desktop index as the main index (keyword "mobile first"), hence, website owners must follow this trend if their offers don’t want to lose relevance.
- Users leaving the website: If a user quickly leaves your website (for example, by closing the browser tab or clicking on "Back"), it sends a signal to the search engine, saying “Here I did not find what I was looking for”. For Google, it grades down the website's relevance even further, as users obviously seem to hope finding what they were searching for somewhere else.
Whether the user habits affect the Google algorithm or vice versa, we are dealing with a typical hen-egg problem here, where the phenomena cause each other. Unfortunately, as the operator of a B2B website, you must play along as otherwise user potential (leads) will be lost.
The fact is that the number of search queries from mobile devices outpaced the desktop search already for a while is an argument on its own. That the criteria for desktop and mobile optimization of web pages are in principle the same, - both for human observers and for the ranking bots of the search engines, is one more - as mentioned, both require each other. And that’s why websites must be fully responsive nowadays, always adapting to the respective viewport of the user. Otherwise, there is the problem that when the page is reduced, you cannot read the texts, the images are not captured, and navigation gets difficult, which are reason enough for many users to leave the site. However, if the page is displayed in its original size, it appears "cut off" and the disoriented user swipes back and forth to find the desired content. Firstly, both gives an unprofessional impression and, secondly, most often this leads to the abortion of the website interaction. So, not only a potential lead is lost, but also a negative UX signal sent to the search engine, whereby the page for the respective search word is further devalued.
Responsive design and fast loading time a must
Make sure you have a responsive layout of your website, or at least play a mobile website that also contains all the content - not a "slimmed down" version of the desktop page.
Even though mobile networks and their bandwidth have increased significantly in recent years, please keep in mind that:
- Multimedia content still often has large volumes of data. This increases the load time, which is annoying for users, and leads to sales losses for companies: 53% of the page visits are aborted due to load times of more than 3 seconds!
- Flash animations and videos are no longer supported by the most popular and have never worked on iPhones anyway.
Therefore, I recommend to:
- Banish large graphic files from your website: View small, data-saving thumbnails that the users can zoom in, if they are interested.
- Not to embed videos directly on the website, just link to them (with preview image).
- Make sure to avoid auto-play features as well - it may seem fancy at first glance, but someone who is sitting on the train and has not muted your smartphone, might not want to be surprised by ‘intro videos’.
- Continue to remove the artifacts of Flash animations from your website - they do not make a good impression on the visitor and lead to Google's devaluation.
- It sounds banal, but apparently it can’t be repeated often enough: Make sure your texts are readable:
- Make telephone numbers clickable, so that the user does not have to work tediously with the small display's copy-paste functions.
- Design contact forms in a way that they can be used and filled out on the smartphone.
If a website is to serve as a marketing tool, instead of just being a business card on the net, it must be found by the users first and then deliver as accurately as possible what has been searched for - anytime, anywhere - conveniently.
By Daniela La Marca