Google Calls for Mobile Responsive Websites

The internet landscape has changed dramatically since the 1990s. Gone are the times when it was merely enough to have a presence online, and trends in terms of tracking user search behaviours have transformed. The increasing penetration rate of smart devices with high-speed mobile data access such as the iPhone means that things are now a lot more convenient. Instead of having to wait to get to a desktop computer, users can begin their search with just a few swipes of a finger.

With this in mind, it’s become clear that having a website which is easily found is not the only important criteria to consider. Ensuring mobile-responsiveness is just as pertinent to your business.

Ease of Use for Consumers on Mobile Devices

Imagine this: a car breaks down somewhere. The driver is attempting to use his phone to quickly look up a towing company that can get him out of there. However, when he clicks on towing company A’s website to find out more about their services, he realises quite quickly that the website is not mobile-responsive.

Having to pinch to zoom in on the text and graphics on the site, and trying to find the company’s details amidst information that hasn’t been optimised for mobile proves frustrating for the driver. And in the heat of the moment, he presses the “back” key and exits the website. In the end, he opts for towing company B which has a more mobile-friendly website.

This has effectively resulted in a lost opportunity for towing company A. If not for its antiquated website, they would have already gotten a phone call from the driver for their towing services. This is just one of the situations that showcase the importance of improving ease of use for consumers on mobile devices. If this step isn’t taken, you risk losing potential sales.

The Importance of SEO Friendliness

Not only does the site have to be easy to comprehend on the limited screen size, it also has to be concise and straight to the point. This is contrary to the conventional method of writing lengthy, flowery text about your products, services and attributes. People do the latter because it is believed it’ll help to improve SEO rankings due to the inclusion of many keywords.

However, because of the limited bandwidth and smaller screen size of mobile devices, any keywords would have to be carefully chosen. This is to ensure that the website is focused on the company’s main goal and objectives without compromising on mobile-friendliness.

Rising Usage of Mobile Devices over Computers

It has become a well-known fact that it is Asia, not the US or Europe, leading the mobile revolution now, displacing computer usage in the process. In an October 2014 blog entry, Google Asia Pacific revealed that 85% of people surveyed in Singapore used a smartphone whilst 74% used a computer. In Malaysia, the figures are 51% and 39% respectively.

Things get more interesting, however, when one looks at the numbers for people who use only a smartphone to access the internet. In Singapore, that figure stands at 16%, but in Malaysia, it’s a whopping 35%. So, one can see just how important it is for companies operating in the SEA to have a mobile-responsive website.

The Changing Faces of Web Design

For many, websites are an investment that is expected to stretch over a period of several years. This is especially so for those in the industrial or B2B sectors where product line-ups rarely change. However, web standards are constantly being altered. And when they do, they catch people by surprise.

For instance, quite a number of corporate websites which were done up before 2007 made use of Shockwave Flash in their design. But businesses soon realised that most mobile devices today omit Flash support, which rendered their websites unreadable.

Hence, if there two lessons to be learnt here, it would be that:

  1. Websites have to be revised every now and then to adapt to changing web standards, and
  2. That the rising use of mobile devices will affect the standards that result in web design.

21st April 2015: Mobile-Responsive or Bust

The Google Mobile-Friendly Update, which was released on the 21st of April this year, is probably one of the most important updates yet. Dubbed “Mobilegeddon” by various media online, this change is first and foremost a way to improve the search experience for users who use mobile. It gives priority to websites which are mobile-responsive, putting them in the forefront ahead of other websites with similar content but haven’t yet been designed for mobile devices.

The foreboding term “Mobilegeddon” implies that Google not only wants to reward companies which have taken the time and effort to make their websites more mobile-friendly, it is also an ultimatum. For websites that are still stuck in the past, a choice has to be made. Upgrade, or be left behind.

So, are you prepped and ready for “Mobilegeddon”? Call us now at +65 6970 2800 to speak to our consultants and get a free, no-obligation audit of your company’s website today.