If you are to effectively market your firm and keep new business coming in, you must think about what your clients are asking for. While some will still search for you on a desktop or laptop, many others are coming to your website from their phone or tablet. If you are not optimizing for mobile, you are completely losing this pool of prospective clients. Mobile-optimization boosts traffic—it’s that simple. It strengthens your search performance, captures new prospects who are more likely to use mobile, and reaches prospects when and where they are ready to visit your website.
Your clients are not the only ones who are asking for mobile-optimization. Google, the most popular search engine to date, has also made it very clear that they want—and expect—websites to be mobile-responsive.
Google has taken two notable steps in the past six months that express this shift. Back in November, Google launched its Mobile-Friendly Test. We ran one of our client sites through this test to see how it fared, and it passed with flying colors. This is an awesome tool that can tell you in less than a minute’s time whether or not your site is up to snuff and where, if at all, it needs work.
In January, Google went one step further. They started calling people out for not being mobile-friendly—seriously. Google has started sending notifications to sites that are not mobile-friendly, warning them to “fix mobile usability issues” and that, until then, the site’s ranking will be affected for mobile users. This is huge, and many believe this is foretelling of a bigger change to Google’s algorithm that is not too far away—a change centered around mobile.
Your Prospects Are Looking for You on Mobile and Our Data Proves It
We are always stepping back and evaluating our work. Our killer SEO team keeps an ever-watchful eye on the latest trends in search engine optimization. Thanks to Google Analytics, we are able to see more data than you can imagine. We watch for positive and negative trends to guide our strategies and are on the look out for sudden dips or spikes that cue us to adjustments we might need to make. We can see all sorts of things, like the bounce rates, conversions, visits, new users, top pages viewed—and the list goes on.
To get some real numbers on this mobile trend, we recently compiled our data comparing mobile users to non-mobile users. We compared data points across all of our clients from the last six months to the previous six months. Here is what we found:
In the past six months, mobile visits increased, on average, almost 12 percent more than non-mobile visits across all of our client sites. In addition, people are spending almost 10 seconds less on non-mobile sites (which translates to an almost 11 percent drop) from six months ago and almost two seconds more on mobile sites. This might sound puny, but comparatively, mobile is gaining and non-mobile is losing speed.
Google is moving toward mobile, as are your clients; the numbers don’t lie.
What to Do
There are four key things you can do to optimize your site for mobile devices, thereby strengthening your search performance and capturing more prospects. Google now visibly tacks on a “mobile-friendly” label to sites that do the following: avoid software that is uncommon to mobile devices, use readable text (without the need for zooming), adjust the size of content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom, and space out links to prevent clicking on the wrong one.
If you do these things well, Google may award you a “mobile-friendly” label in the search results. The SEO team here at GNGF has compiled its own list of must-haves. These will not only please Google but your prospective clients as well.
You should have one site and one site alone. None of this redirecting business. It used to be fashionable to create a completely different site for mobile-use only. This is no longer considered good practice, as this means that users are being directed from your main site to your mobile site (two different URLs) which takes more time. Instead, you should have one site that auto-adjusts to a user’s screen/window size. How do you do this? You hire a coding whiz, that’s how.
- Quick load time
Google has said that your site should load in less than a second. Anything more than that and you risk losing your user to a quicker site. The use of caching services, optimized images, and clean code are just a few of the items that are in need of attention when trying to speed up your site.
- Master your ABCs
This is an easy way to remember the three most common pages that need to be the most accessible. These are your:
- Practice Area page(s)
- Bio page(s)
- Contact page
A side note on the contact page: linking your address to a navigation application, like Google Maps, eliminates the need to copy and paste your address into a separate GPS app and makes it that much easier for a client to find you.
Again, users don’t want to have to memorize your number and enter it into their keypad. We have all had to do this before for sites that don’t have the click-to-call function. For everyone but the kid with photographic memory, this is an impossibly frustrating task. Don’t do this to your users. There is no excuse for it, as it requires very simple coding.
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times. The world has gone mobile. In the end, whether you like it or not, whether you agree with it or not, this is a fact, and you had better hop on board or be left behind. For questions about how to go mobile, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org—from your mobile device, if you dare.