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2015: the year of the mobile… again? Hmm, possibly. One thing we can be certain about is that the popularity of mobile use is continuing to grow, especially in search. By 2016, it is expected that the majority of local searches will be made on mobile devices; this is just one indicator of increasing use. It is clearly more important than ever to ensure your website can cater for mobile users.
Having a website that’s optimised for mobile devices has been of importance to Google for many years now and as of late November, it’s clear they have put even more emphasis on sites which deliver a better mobile experience.
From the 19th November 2014, Google started introducing mobile-friendly labels to the search results in their mobile SERPs. These labels now appear as rich snippets in mobile search results for mobile-optimised pages:
Mobile-friendly labels are a big step for Google towards providing users with a greater mobile experience; highlighting the websites that deliver optimised mobile usability.
So, the bigger picture; there are a number of reasons why websites must start catering for mobile use, especially from a user’s perspective:
So, how do you achieve the mobile-friendly label? Luckily, Google have been fairly open with what qualifies a page to feature it. Every page must meet the following criteria when crawled by the mobile Googlebot:
As of yet, there is no direct ranking benefit of having this label, however with Google’s increased focus towards mobile optimised websites, it’ll be no surprise to see sites with the mobile-friendly label prioritised in search in the future.
Coinciding with the announcement of mobile-friendly labels in late November last year, Google released a tool that highlights whether specific pages on websites are deemed mobile friendly. This tool is called the Mobile-Friendly Test. With this resource, you’re able to identify pages that are optimised for mobile users and so are eligible for this label, along with being able to highlight those that need development (with information being provided on how to do so).
It is important to note that mobile-friendly label eligibility is page dependent, so it is worth checking every page on your website, or at least key landing pages for which you expect to rank well.
Through regular use of this tool, I’ve noticed that sometimes results do not correspond with the page crawled. More specifically, some non-optimised mobile pages have received the mobile-friendly label when they’re technically not eligible and vice versa.
From a short-term perspective, this is okay; the click-through rate to your website from mobiles should begin to increase. From a long-term perspective, this is not ideal as this will result in a high bounce-rate, meaning decreased trust in your mobile website from both users and Google.
I would advise using other resources available online (below) and manually reviewing your site on a mobile device to ensure that your pages are actually mobile-friendly.
Google’s Pagespeed Insights tool checks and suggests ways you can improve the performance of your website on mobile devices.
Cowemo’s Mobile Phone Emulator is a great resource to view your website on multiple mobile devices.
View Google’s Mobile Guide for advice on how you can optimise for mobile.
Mobile optimisation is definitely considered a ranking factor by major search engines – it is important to ensure that you have a website that serves the mobile user. A user that experiences a mobile-friendly website is likely to convert and will leave a website with a more positive view of the brand.
For more information on optimising your website for mobile devices, please contact us today.
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