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Jennifer G. Hanford

Mobile-Friendly Websites: No Longer Simply Nice To Have

Jennifer G. Hanford
Mobile-Friendly Websites: No Longer Simply Nice To Have

It was only a matter of time before mobile-friendly websites evolved from something nice to have into something all businesses must have.

Mobile-friendly websites have nice features which create seamless experiences for people who use their smart phones or other mobile devices for accessing the Internet. These are sites which are specifically designed and optimized for easy viewing, regardless of the device people are using as they browse and search the Internet.

And yes, responsive web design and mobile-friendly websites were (and are) simply nice for businesses to have. And of course, the exploding numbers of people who do their Internet searching while on the go especially appreciate mobile-friendly websites.

[caption id="attachment_18146" "aligncenter" width="600"]Mobile-friendly sites are essential. Mobile-friendly sites are essential.[/caption]

These days, however, more and more businesses realize the growing necessity of having mobile-friendly websites for their organizations. As mobile technology becomes more sophisticated, so do the browsing and purchasing habits of its users. Businesses, and especially those that are focused on ecommerce, really must adapt…or lose out on a world of sales, marketing, and revenue opportunities.

But what exactly has brought on the latest emphasis for having mobile-friendly websites? One main reason is because of Google.

Here is the latest scoop on the increased importance of having mobile-friendly websites

Google will soon start using mobile-friendliness as a website SEO ranking factor

Google announced that beginning on April 21st, 2015, it will include mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal for websites. If they aren’t already, businesses should have their websites ready by then, since this will significantly impact search results worldwide.

With its current algorithms, Google has already made it easier for users to find mobile-friendly websites. For one thing, they appear higher on search results. However, once Google includes mobile-friendliness as an SEO ranking factor, this only increases the likelihood of relevant, mobile-friendly websites being found more readily in search results.

How do I make sure my site is mobile-friendly?

In a recent article for Business News Daily, Sara Angeles provides a nifty checklist with the information you need to check your site for mobile-friendliness. The information comes directly from Google, itself.

Google suggests you do the following:

  • Visit Google's guide to mobile-friendly sites. This page offers several ways to make your site more mobile-friendly, such as by using software or a third-party developer.
  • Take Google's Mobile-Friendly Test to see how optimized your website is for mobile viewing. You can test a single page on your site or several webpages and see exactly how Google's own Googlebot views the pages when determining search results.
  • Use Webmaster Tools to generate a Mobile Usability Report, which helps identify any issues with your website when viewed on a mobile device.

Properly converting your non-mobile website into one that is mobile-friendly

Once you understand the need for a mobile-friendly website, you may realize it is time to convert your current site.

Businesses who are building or rebuilding their websites may have it easier than those with existing sites. For one thing, the costs associated with building mobile websites are relatively lower now than they were in the past. Regardless of the expense, you must put those costs into perspective. In other words, the costs of losing, rather than acquiring, potential clients add up; this alone should change your views on the up-front expense of your website.

There are three main options for converting your current, not-optimized-for-mobile website into one that is mobile-friendly:

  • Create a mobile application
  • Create a mobile website
  • Create a responsive website

The author of a recent article via imFORMZA goes on to say the following about determining which of the option(s) above may be best for your business site:

Although all three of these options can technically be used at the same time, it is recommended that you understand who your users are, what they need to see and how you want to communicate your business to them so that you can focus your resources on the single best option.

In other words, when it comes down to it, your audience should be what drives your ultimate decision for how you handle your mobile website. As Google does its part for helping businesses that have mobile-friendly websites succeed in the SEO race, you are still ultimately responsible for helping your target audience with finding you online as easily as possible.

Are you ready to take your website to the mobile masses, or have you already done so? Do you think Google is doing the right thing by using mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal?

Jennifer Hanford is Freelance Blogger and Social Media Community Manager at j+ Media Solutions. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, baking, and pinning on Pinterest.

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