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Optimizing for Mobile: Why It Matters and How to Do It

November 2018

In 2015, Google confirmed that the impossible had happened: mobile searches had surpassed desktop searches for the first time ever.

Related: Mobile Remains the Trendsetter in Web Design

Almost three and a half years later, that revelation no longer seems very surprising. Just think about how much time people spend on their smartphones when they are riding the train, waiting for a movie to start, or merely walking down the street. Because of sheer convenience and accessibility, mobile screen time is eating away at desktop’s market share every year.

Why Your Business Needs a Mobile-Optimized Site
If you own a business or operate a website, you can’t ignore the trend toward mobile. Smartphones are here to stay. Tablets, while they have slowed in growth somewhat, are probably here to stay too. If you have a website that’s not optimized for mobile, you are effectively failing to serve more than half of your potential user base.

More than that, though, Google penalizes non-mobile-optimized sites, which means your search engine rankings will take a hit if you don’t have a strong mobile site. At this stage, Google even employs mobile-first indexing of pages, which means it is paying more attention to the mobile version of your site than it is to the desktop version.

Bottom line, if you don’t have a mobile-optimized site in 2018, you aren’t just losing the game to your competitors. On the contrary, you are no longer even playing the same game. You are obsolete, and your site visitors are not going to put up with it.

How to Optimize for Mobile
Now, hopefully, you at least have a mobile version of your website. If you do, at least then your visitors can use your site on their phones or tablets. If you don’t, you need to call your website designer and get to work on a redesign ASAP.

Even if you have a responsive site capable of serving different versions to mobile and desktop platforms, though, that doesn’t mean you’re done. Just like there are many strategies you can use to optimize your site for search engines, there are also a lot of things you can do to optimize your site for mobile.

For instance, a big factor is the speed of your mobile site. Mobile users want pages that load in a split second. If your mobile site is too slow, you are going to lose those users. Anything you can do to goose the load times of your mobile page, then—such as replacing large images with smaller (but still crisp) images or getting rid of unnecessary page redirects—can help you optimize for Google’s new mobile-first system.

Perhaps the most important thing you can do is to pull up your website on your phone and try to use it. Is it easy to scroll around and navigate? Is it easy to read the text? Is it easy to navigate, or are the buttons for your other pages too small and difficult to tap? Do you accidentally “click” links as you navigate the page with your fingers? Answering these questions might point toward some necessary redesigns for your mobile site.

At Inherent, we can help you build a mobile site (if you don’t have one already) or optimize it for faster performance and easier use (if you do already have one). Contact us today to get started.