SEO, Web Development

Your Non-mobile Friendly Website and SEO

Mobile usage has taken over as leader for total web usage. I remember hearing that prediction in 2008 and thinking, “That’s just insane!”. In 2008, Mary Meeker, an analyst at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers said that mobile would surpass desktop usage for online browsing. She couldn’t have been any more accurate in her prediction.

In some verticals we’ve seen usage results closer to 70% for mobile traffic; while others still receive single digits. Whatever the case may be, there are still a staggering amount of websites on the web that are not mobile friendly.

This is very much becoming an issue. People are leaving websites quicker because of poor usability; plain and simple. Everyone hates pinching their fingers to view more. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve clicked an advertisement when I was trying to click “next page”.

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Remember in Jurrasic Park, when Sam Neill and Laura Dern were in the field watching the dinosaurs attack different parts of the fence, and said “They’re learning”? Time On Site from mobile visitors to non-mobile friendly websites have historically shown that people spend 20% – 60% less time on the site — and it’s doubtful they’ll visit again. Chances are even better they’ll do it from their mobile phone.

If your email address is connected to your website, you’ve most certainly received an email (or ten) from Google Webmaster Tools Team <wmx-noreply@google.com>. And If you happen to own or operate a site that’s not mobile friendly, you most likely received an email from Google.

If this doesn’t scare you — I can’t imagine what would. This big move has been a long time coming, and Google has been mentioning it on both their blog and forum; while releasing algorithm updates for the last few months. This year Google took it one step further by reaching out to page admins.

Google will actively notify website users of their dated technology before they even have an opportunity to click through to your website. Nothing screams “Run!” like alerts from Google in the search results page.

I have read rumors that eventually, search engine results pages (SERPs) will eventually omit non-friendly sites from mobile devices. I did say ‘rumor’, so don’t quote me on anything — but it sure does make sense.

To help illustrate my thoughts, I took a look at a new client that signed on with us two months ago. They run a small business in New York with a long history, both online and brick & mortar. They want help with their SEO. In the last thirty days (as of 2/10/2015), they received 5,098 sessions to their site — more than 2/3rds of the traffic from mobile devices. Their mobile traffic leaves the site almost 2x’s as fast as desktop visitors. Conversions are minimal, and red flags are all over. Not only that, but the website of their direct competition is mobile friendly, with the “Mobile-Friendly” subhead. This is a problem; but also an issue that can and is being fixed.

What to do now?

  • Speak with your developer (designer+developer). If it’s a Word Press site, look to add a plugin or update the theme.
    2Cents: Possibly time consuming and costly. Maybe, maybe not?
  • Speak with your developer and see if creating a new (CSS) style sheet to make the site responsive is an option and whether it would be a fix.
    2Cents: 50/50 chance this will work. Old code doesn’t translate well to smaller browsers. Forget about Flash — If you have any Flash elements on your website, you can count out all visitors from iPhone/iPad’s.
  • Take a second look at your 2015 budget and figure out how to swing a redesign.
    2Cents: At the end of the day it may be your most expensive option; but if your site is that old — why are you waiting this long?

This wasn’t written as a sales pitch for what Efferent Media can do for you. It has been written to share what’s going on with the person or persons who take the time to read this blog. Even if it’s not us who will be helping you; please don’t take this lightly. The forecast is now. The actions have started happening a little over a month ago; and it will only get worse for your website.

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