Optimizing For Mobile Search In 2017 part 2Optimizing for Mobile versus Desktop
In last article I explained about optimizing for mobile search and in this article I will compare optimizing for mobile with desktop.
The critical foundation for any mobile optimization project is ensuring that the site itself has been configured properly. One in four websites has not been designed to reach the mobile audience.
Google has put out its own guidebook for brands ready to create a usable and attractive mobile site. Use those guidelines to make sure that the site is ready for the influx of mobile users that 2017 will likely bring.
Optimizing a website for mobile also requires developing a keen understanding of user behavior. For example, at first glance, it might seem as though mobile devices have incredibly low conversion rates. A recent study clocked them in at .92 percent. This is dismal compared to the average of 3.41 percent on desktop.
Looking solely at those numbers might encourage some businesses to question why they should be investing more time and money into mobile. The answer lies in the consumer behavior.
Customers are using their mobile internet activity for different things. For example, shoppers who use their smart phones before or during a shopping experience in a brick-and-mortar store are actually 40 percent more likely to buy than those who did not use these devices.
These differences in usage also stretch across different industries. At BrightEdge, we tracked engagement rates for mobile and desktop across different industries such as retail, insurance, B2B technology, manufacturing and hospitality.
We found that engagement rates for some industries, such as retail, were abysmal — around only eight percent for mobile. This number starts to make sense, however, when you consider that customers are likely to use their smart devices to access a retailer’s page when they are interested in quick bits of information, such as a phone number, store hours or the location of the nearest store.
This type of usage might register low engagement, but it is still critical for brand success. A poorly designed website that does not easily offer users this critical information can quickly lose sales as shoppers just move on to the next option that addresses their needs.
Optimizing your site for mobile requires taking a careful look at what your mobile users are likely to want to see and designing the page to fit those needs. You will want to focus on developing task-centered content and ensuring that the page layout is easy for users to interact with while on a small mobile screen.
This means paying attention to simple things, like not making buttons too close together. If you also have a goal of directing mobile visitors toward a brick-and-mortar store, then do not overlook the value of using local keywords and SEO to attract this specific audience.
Loading times can also be critical for mobile devices. Almost half of mobile users expect websites to load in two seconds or less, and the longer a page takes to load, the lower your engagement will be. Up to 40 percent will abandon a page that takes more than three seconds to load. So minimize parts of your page, such as graphics and unnecessary scripts that slow down loading times.
It is also important to remember that users on mobile are as much as two times more likely to share content than those on desktop. If your site has missing or hard-to-use social sharing buttons, you could be missing major opportunities for engagement and reach. Make sure that the content produced for your mobile site is ready to be shared across the social platforms.