Is your website optimised for Mobile? If not, what is the impact on Search results?.
Many articles have been written about the rising importance of Mobile on Digital Marketing and Search. Recent US research indicates that 46% of searchers use mobile exclusively as a primary research tool.
There is no excuse anymore for not optimising websites for mobile users.
To help address this, Google have recommend webmasters follow the industry best practice of using responsive web design. That is, serving the same HTML for all devices and only using CSS media queries to decide the rendering on each device.
This is illustrated by some examples in the travel industry. The first page google search results on desktop and selections from the first page on mobile for “discount flights” are shown below.
Google search Discount flights results
The Top 4 Organic Search results on mobile for the search term “discount flights” are in order: 1. webjet 2. expedia 3. flightcentre and 4. lastminute. All four have mobile optimised websites. Interestingly, they do not use responsive design. They use a separate web site design specifically for mobile that reflects the different needs of the mobile user. That is looking for a specific quote on a flight or a hotel. In contrast, the desktop searcher is also likely to be searching on a broader range of topics such as information on a destination, travel insurance, currency exchanges etc..
In contrast, Organic Search results on mobile for the term “discount flights” positions 5 to 10 were in order. 5. 1wantthatflight 6. zuji 7. jetabroad 8. bestflights 9. skyscanner and 10. jetstar. All these websites except Jetstar were not optimised for mobile.
The mobile home page results for each website are shown below on order from 1 to 10. (iwantthatflight unfortunately did not load on my iPhone 4S).
Websites that are optimised for mobiles appear in the top positions for the google organic search results on mobile. (NB: webjet, expedia, skyscanner and jetstar also had their own Mobile apps).
The top few sites do well on both desktop searches and mobile searches (i.e. expedia, webjet and flightcentre). Their positions don’t change that much from desktop to mobile.
However, lastminute which was #7 on the desktop organic search result list, goes up to #4 on mobile organic search list. This is no doubt driven by it’s good website optimisation for mobile.
In contrast, jetabroad was #5 on the desktop organic search result list, but drops to #7 on the mobile organic search list. The lack of website optimisation for mobile is thought to contribute to this.
For non mobile optimised web sites, I would also recommend considering decreasing any Paid Search campaign bids on mobile devices and increasing their bids on desktop devices. I am assuming that the experience for users of these sites will be extremely frustrating on mobile devices and that any conversion rates will be low. Until the mobile optimisation of their website is addressed, why pay a premium to drive traffic to the mobile site?
As an example, see Direct Flights below. They don’t rank on the first page for organic search on desktop or mobile, but are ranked #1 on Paid Search results on Mobile. As seen below, their website is optimised for mobile.
As per the above link article, responsive design may or may not be the design solution to optimise your website for mobile.
by Konrad Markham
Tips for Improving Digital Marketing