I know that this whole mobile versus desktop thing is getting serious: my 75-year-old mother now has a smartphone!
Where up until a few years ago, the majority of people accessed the internet from a computer, mobile internet use has now surpassed that of its predecessor: in the United States, 71 percent of all digital minutes are spent on a mobile device. Some countries have even higher numbers, like the United Arab Emirates with 80 percent of its population accessing the internet on mobile devices.
While mobile internet speeds and accessibility have vastly improved over the last few years, that alone won't guarantee a successful mobile experience. Small businesses need to be aware of their own roles and responsibilities when it comes to having a mobile-first strategy.
1. Make sure your site is mobile-friendly
This has been the advice for years, but now Google is getting serious about lowering the ranking of sites that are not easily viewed and navigated on mobile devices. Most website templates are responsive, meaning they adapt to whatever type of device they're being accessed on, but it's important to make sure you have that option for your site, especially if it's several years old or you DIY'd it.
Use Google's free Mobile-Friendly Test to make sure your site is easy to use on phones and tablets.
2. Think mobile when it comes to search
You may be on top of SEO in general for your website, but realize that with mobile, your strategy needs to be slightly different. For one, you need to use local keywords if you are a brick-and-mortar business and want to be found by people while they're looking for a business in a particular area. So, for example, make sure you include your city and even neighborhood in your keywords:
- San Diego Italian restaurant
- Best oven fired pizza South Park
- Southern California pasta
Beyond localized keywords, mobile search includes semantic keywords. Whereas you would type "San Diego Italian restaurant" on your desktop, if you're on your phone, you might ask Siri or Google, "What’s the most romantic place to eat pasta?"
Your phone will assume you mean locally, so will present local results. But including conversational phrases like this can move you up mobile search rankings faster.
3. Keep your site fast-loading
Nowhere is it more important to have a lightning-fast loading time than your mobile site. In fact, if it takes more than three seconds for your mobile page to load, you will lose half of your website visitors. So clearly, speed is of the utmost importance.
Work with your website designer to streamline your mobile site to ensure fast loading. Use Google's mobile loading test to see how yours stacks up.
4. Make your call-to-action prominent
Just like you'd want on any website, your CTA is hugely important on your mobile site, especially for conversion optimization. Because people are in a hurry to find what they want and get off of your site, you need to practically scream at visitors to tell them to do what you want them to. Use urgent words to get them to feel like if they don't take action this second, they will miss out majorly.
Being mobile-ready is no longer an option if you're serious about growing your brand. Incorporate your mobile-first strategy into your bigger search engine marketing strategy, and stay on top of updates to Google's algorithms and industry trends, and you'll come out on top.
Susan Guillory is one of Media Shower’s content marketing experts. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.