The Consequences of a Website that’s not Mobile-Friendly
November 11th 2020 | By Steve Grant
With 60 per cent of Google searches made via mobile devices, and Google’s recent full shift to mobile-first indexing, it has never been so crucial to have a mobile friendly website.
September 2020 saw Google make a full shift to mobile-first indexing. This means a website’s ranking positions now depend on its mobile content, rather than what shows up on a desktop browser.
Older websites that weren’t designed with mobile in mind, or those with a separate mobile version, really need to be upgraded to responsive design, because this is the format preferred by Google, and the one that will therefore stand you the greatest chance of achieving top rankings.
What is responsive web design?
Responsive web design is a way of creating a website so that it automatically scales its content to suit the size of the screen it is being viewed on.
Responsive design saves mobile and tablet users the frustration of scrolling, zooming and resizing so they can see what they want to see on their smaller screen. Sites that do not respond to the screen size can be very difficult to navigate, and will often cost you potential customers, as well as risking damage to brand reputation.
With responsive design, there is no longer a need to create a separate, dedicated mobile website. All you need is a single site that scales to fit the device it is being viewed on.
Why is responsive web design so important?
The way we browse the internet has changed considerably over the past few years. Whilst desktop browsing does still exist, people tend to switch from PC to tablet to phone and back again at the drop of a hat. This is why it’s so important for the website user experience to be consistent across multiple devices.
Responsive websites tend to prove more cost effective, because there is no need to maintain and host separate sites. They also offer greater flexibility, and they are easier to manage compared to a setup where there’s a separate desktop and mobile site.
What’s more, and very importantly in terms of online visibility, Google has a preference for responsive websites. Here’s what they say:
“We recommend using responsive web design because it makes it easier for users to share and link to your content with a single URL.”
The search engine also says that responsive design makes site crawling indexing more efficient and straightforward; that it reduces the possibility of the common errors affecting mobile sites, and that because users are not re-directed to a separate site that suits their device, it reduces load time, which makes for a better user experience.
When Google crawls a website that’s been responsively designed, it only needs to do so once, rather than several times to retrieve all versions of the content. This improved crawling efficiency helps Google index more of a site’s content, which means you have a better chance of seeing your most up to date content indexed quickly.
What happens if a website isn’t mobile-friendly?
The consequences of a non-mobile friendly website are many, and can be very damaging for a business.
The frustrated user who can’t find what they are looking for when browsing your website on mobile will:
- Likely leave your site and head to a competitor’s instead
- Lose faith in your brand
- Be very unlikely to recommend you to others
- Be even more unlikely to share your content
So that’s lost business, damaged reputation, weakened brand loyalty and missed opportunities.
What’s more, mobile friendliness is a Google ranking factor.
Almost two thirds of internet searches are carried out on mobile devices. For this reason, Google made mobile friendliness a ranking factor for mobile searches back in 2015. Later, in 2019 when mobile-first indexing was introduced, it also became a ranking factor for desktop searches. This means that even if you have a faultless desktop website, if it’s not optimised for mobile, your search engine rankings could suffer.
It’s important to preview your web pages and any new content you add to your site on a mobile device as well as on desktop. A lot of content management systems will allow you to preview the mobile view before you put your content live, or you can use one of the free mobile usability testing tools, such as Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
Why mobile friendly websites are even more important in a pandemic
If you run a local business, you’ll know only too well the importance of taking your services digital in order to help weather the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. But what you really need to consider as a new local online business, is that most people searching for local services will be doing so using a mobile device.
The crucial thing here is that a huge number of local searches are made with high purchase intent. In other words, most local services searches result in a sale. This is why local SEO has never been more important, and mobile search forms a crucial part of this strategy.
So, if you have recently started to rely on online orders from a local audience, bear in mind that without a mobile friendly website, you will find it difficult to compete.
Now is a good time to look back to our recent post on making your mobile search results more clickable. More click-throughs equal an improved chance of boosting sales, so it’s worth taking steps to boost your click through rate.
Responsive bespoke web design from the online marketing agency London businesses recommend
Google recommends responsive design for all new websites. It’s precisely how we’ve been approaching bespoke web design for many years.
If the time has come to review and upgrade your website so that it’s mobile friendly, more competitive and better geared up to boost your search rankings, you can rest assured that with Figment, the digital agency Surrey and London businesses trust, you’ll be gaining a future-proof asset, designed to achieve your business goals.
To discuss your project, you are welcome to get in touch with our friendly team.