With Google pushing businesses to develop websites that are more user friendly, as of the 21st of April, they shall be expanding their use of ‘mobile friendliness’ as a ranking signal in their search algorithms[i].
In other words, the more suited to mobile your website is, the more likely it is to appear higher in search results when people are using their mobile device.
In this article we explore the changes and the repercussions for online businesses by examining Google’s criteria that determines whether a website meets their mobile requirements.
For ecommerce websites, with their high level of content, it is vitally important to ensure that customers can easily access your website to view products and make purchases on mobile. This requires an optimised ecommerce site either using a responsive design or a dedicated mobile site. Read more about Responsive versus dedicated mobile design.
Google has said that there are three key characteristics that they will be looking for in determining a websites mobile friendliness.
1. Customer Access
One of an ecommerce website’s main ambitions should be to help customers achieve their objectives. Whether they are searching for prices to compare, need to find your address and contact details, read your blog, check reviews or place an order, any objective should be easily accomplished in as few actions as possible on your website via their mobile phone.
If the users journey is complicated or convoluted, businesses risk frustrating their potential customers who then associate their interaction with that website as a negative user experience.
2. Effectiveness measured by how simple tasks are completed
Google suggests that no task should take more than three steps. For example, if a customer wishes to make a purchase, the first step once they reach your homepage will be to identify their preferred way to start their product search, either via the navigation bar, using the search facility or clicking on a product selection immediately on the home page. The second click should take the visitor from category page with enhanced filtering direct to the product in question. The final click is to add to basket or make a purchase.
A simple, logical user journey makes it simple and efficient for customers, and no doubt offers benefits like improvements in conversion rates for online businesses.
3. Mobile Design
The design of an ecommerce website will also influence Google’s mobile usability assessment. Whether using a themed template or custom design, the responsiveness needs to be consistent across all devices. Magento’s standard template is fully responsive and is an excellent foundation on which to build a website that complies with Google’s new mobile friendliness requirements.
Alternatively, many businesses within certain industries, like fashion for example, are opting to develop a separate mobile store. The decision to create a separate mobile store is taken in order to cater to growing numbers of customers interacting with mobile. In essence, the mobile store should offer a fast and even more simplified user journey which can have a positive impact on increasing mobile conversion rates.
According to Google’s Developers[ii], there are benefits to a responsive designed site over mobile, such as it offers a lower cost and lower maintenance for businesses who only need to manage one website. But the question remains at what cost to conversion rates.
Having built over 200 Magento Community and Magento Enterprise websites across both Retail and B2B , Robert Williams, MD at Williams Commerce discusses the importance of understanding the analytics prior to choosing responsive over a separate mobile theme. “Many of our customers come to us with the requirement to either build a new ecommerce site or upgrade their existing site for responsive design, which then raises the question over whether a business should consider going one step further to offering a separate mobile store. We weigh up our client’s available resources, the complexity of the desktop site, current mobile traffic, engagement and conversion rates and the industry as a whole to make a recommendation on whether the site should adopt a mobile store. When we are addressing conversion rate barriers, usually the mobile opportunity is a high priority for many of our clients, and this is becoming more pertinent for B2B as well, as many wholesalers and manufacturers are experiencing increasing growth from their trade customers using mobile devices.”
Want to know more about how you can ensure your website is compliant for mobile with Google? Give our digital marketing team a call on 0116 326 1116, extension 4 to discuss today.