Before we dive in, lets test your knowledge!
- What is the best way to build your web presence? Social Media? PPC? SEO? If you have no idea where to start, read- A Comprehensive Guide to Building Your Presence Online
- What is SEO? Any business owner that owns a website should know what SEO is and why it’s important to their business. If you have no clue, then read- SEO Matters: What it is and why you can’t ignore it
- Did you hear about the BIG Google changes? Learn more about the changes coming to Google AdWords and the Search Index. Read- Google AdWords Update: New Local Search Revealed & Google Splitting Search Index: What does that mean for you?
Woo, glad we got that out of the way! Now if you read any of the articles above or have browsed the internet in the past, oh let’s say 2 years, chances are you’ve heard about the seismic shift of consumer device usage from desktop to mobile. In response, Google has been announcing big changes left and right, starting with the Mobile algorithm update, dubbed “Mobilegeddon,” continuing at the Google Summit and more recently the upcoming split of the search index into the mobile index and desktop index. So how do we take advantage of these changes in 2017?
Over the past few years, consumer device usage has increased with the most time spent on mobile, at 2 hours 51 minutes, followed by desktop, at 2 hours 22 minutes. In addition, consumers are using multiple devices throughout the day, starting with their mobile phone in the morning (7 am – 10 am), Desktop during work hours (10 am – 5 pm), and tables at night (5 pm – 12 am). Although mobile is a huge part of our daily lives, conversion rates tend to be low averaging 1.43% on mobile compared to 4.66% on desktop and 3.75% on tablet (Table of Contents: 1, 5).
In addition, the Wall Street Journal reports that shoppers made 51% of their purchases online in 2016 in which 42% of all purchases were searched for and bought online, 42% of purchases ended in an in-store purchase and 16% of purchases were researched online & in-store but bought online (Table of Contents: 4). Google estimates that 48% of all mobile research starts on search engines, followed by branded websites (33%) and branded apps (26%) (Table of Contents: 3). In 2015, the top 3 digital properties were Google Sites, Facebook and Yahoo sites, not surprising! What’s surprising is that Facebook & Yahoo have more mobile searches than Google but Google dominates in multi-platform searches (Table of Contents: 2).
As consumers continue to interact with your business in a variety of ways and on multiple screens, it becomes paramount for any business to optimize their websites for the mobile first world and continue to provide a clear, consistent message. From ad message to website content, mobile users should be able to quickly understand your business services, how you can help them, and why they should choose you over the competition. In addition, retargeting should continue to be a staple in your marketing efforts as, according to Google, “consumers visit business websites on their phones an average 6 times in their purchase process.” Best practices would include: adjusting advertising times to best target users when they are searching on a particular device; continuously engage consumers and give them incentives to revisit your website; monitor cross-device conversions and conversion rates then compare to industry standards.
The Google Search Index will be split into a Mobile Search Index and a Desktop Search index. The Mobile index will take priority, meaning it will be updated more frequently but this does not mean that the desktop version of your website should be ignored, it just means that optimization should be directed to mobile first initiatives. Attributes such as speed, usability and navigation will still have an impact on desktop rankings but these are incredibly important on mobile and website managers should seek to improve in these areas as much as possible in the coming months. Other areas to focus on for mobile first initiatives are: avoiding pop-up ads, updating meta titles and descriptions, implementing AMP when feasible and necessary, and using rich cards.
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