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Why Your SEO Strategy Needs A Mobile Strategy To Survive
Smart phone and mobile apps aren't going anywhere soon. You should begin to optimize not rather than later.
They're not like a brick phone, the smart phones are here to stay and will only evolve for the better (hopefully there's not skynet). Here are some numbers for you to look over: Around 1.5 billion people on earth own smart phones, and 50% of those people use their smart phones as their primary line (land lines are going extinct). A business needs to adapt to technology and not sit around hoping it was just a fad. Smart phones and apps are here to stay since there are enormous platforms built around them.
But what does this mean for your business' digital approach?
Mobile searches is a huge factor in todays search engines. In a recent webinar with Google, Jessie Hocchalter spoke about a strategy that revolved around mobile and how you should implement it — from SEO to PPC.
Here, we'll take a look at some of Hocchalter’s best tips about living as a small business owner in a digital world.
Making Your Website Mobile Friendly Is Key
Optimizing your pages so people on smart phones can browse easier is key to mobile optimization. If your website is not responsive (mobile friendly) 61% of people will leave almost instantly since they can't read anything easily.
Making sure your users are happy and can read everything clearly is only the beginning of what needs to be done to your website. In April 2015, launched an update that gives priority to websites that were optimized to be mobile friendly. You may have even heard of this, it's often referred to as Mobilegeddon). Basically this means that when someone is browsing on their phone, they will more than likely see only websites that are mobile optimized. With todays search results, if you don't have a website that is optimized for mobile visitors, it is more than likely your website isn't living up to it's full potential since you're missing out on a lot of traffic.
As a small business owner this can seem kind of fishy like a bait and switch. You built your website (or paid a lot to have someone else do it), you optimized the code so it would follow the guidelines set forth by Google, and now you have to get a mobile version of your website made or you won't get the traffic you deserve? It's pretty frustrating, but you have to remember that Google is only trying to serve it's visitors and since the majority are now searching from their phones, they want them to be happy. If Google were to have it's search results filled with websites that aren't mobile friendly, it would lose value to those searching from their phone and they would go to another search engine most likely. And losing your customers is never a good business plan.
Here are a few things you can do to begin the mobile optimization of your website.
Mobile Changes How We Shop Online
- Your homepage navigation should be clear and mobile-friendly. Try making your buttons a little larger and easy to see.
- Think about your heat maps, streamline everything so your site is user friendly to mobile traffic. A site with minimal CTAs and buttons keeps things easy for a mobile user, who will be seeing your website from a very small screen compared to your laptop/desktop.
- Figure out which pages are needed. Not every page is needed on your mobile friendly version.
- Make sure you have a site search feature on every page. Even with a very user friendly website, you'll need to give people the option to search everything on your website in order to find something.
- Reduce the amount of form fields a mobile user has to fill out. I know I always hate filling out big forms online when I'm on my phone and I can't be the only one. Keep it simple — name, email address and (maybe) phone number. Everyones form will be different, customize it for your business.
- Be sure to stay on top of optimizing your pages for mobile traffic. Look at how people are actually using your site. Are they coming in and leaving as soon as the page loads? You probably need to rework your layout to be more mobile friendly.
- If you can afford it, hire a designer to make your website mobile friendly. This is a much less stressful way of going about it and will take much less time since it's what they already do for their clients.
People are constantly on their phones for almost everything. As a business you need to figure out how people are going to get to your website and how they will see your pages.
With search advertising you will need to set everything up so that your visitors can easily contact your via an email or phone call. Since they are already on their phones they can easily call you. You will also need to claim all your listings on popular citation websites so that you show up correctly whenever searched. It's a hassle when a competitor sets up your citation page and siphons your customers. The current layout for Google sometimes loads a map and local listings as the top search result based on how the search is phrased, which means your business will miss out if your listings aren’t claimed properly.
You also need to consider time of day when it comes to your search ads. If a searcher is looking for a bike repair shop during the day, those ads should include click-to-call features. But if someone is searching at night — when a bike repair shop won’t be open — the ad should instead feature online booking or email options. By doing this it will ensure your potential client knows they are going to either get a response right away via phone call or the next morning via email response and possible phone call during business hours.