The global pandemic has changed the way brands and services do business forever. It has forced many companies to pivot and examine how they communicate with their customers.
So much so that more and more businesses are now turning to the Internet as their primary communications tool. Which coupled with the fact that organic search on mobile devices exceeded half of all website searches last year and mobile users now make up nearly 50% of all web traffic; today, more than ever, your mobile site is more important to Google than your desktop site.
So if you haven’t already planned how to adapt to the Google mobile-first approach, it is time to do so because you don’t want to be the ones playing catch-up.
What does it mean to pivot for a business?
Businesses pivot, all the time, to restructure and redesign their strategies to align with shifting customer needs and requirements. You can choose to upgrade your services, find better marketing channels or redesign your website to make it more user-friendly.
With the “death of traditional retail,” we have seen a significant rise in online shopping during the pandemic. It has made websites far more critical, and businesses have had to adapt, building easy-to-use websites, ensuring smooth payment processes and timely deliveries.
Even before the pandemic, the online focus was always the customer, their needs, and their requirements. However, when Google rolled out its mobile-first indexing feature in 2019, businesses realised they were left with no choice but to make their websites mobile-friendly.
How does mobile-first indexing work?
A stark rise in the mobile website traffic from 2016 signalled Google to adapt to this approach. In 2017, mobile users crossed the 60% barrier, forcing Google to follow the trend.
Indexing is a vital part of technical SEO. You have to make sure the website is crawled or analysed easily, loads quickly, and has easily readable pages – gone are the days when the desktop version and the mobile site had different features and options.
The new addition to the list of requirements for technical SEO since 2019 is “mobile-usability.” While this was a complimentary feature, it is now entirely necessary.
The Googlebot now indexes your website using something called a Smartphone Bot. You must have easily readable pages, with elements such as buttons or pictures suitable for the mobile screen.
How can you improve your mobile website?
There are many issues you or your users can run into while using the mobile version of the website. Some of the common errors you can fix include:
Using incompatible code, widgets, or plugins:
Desktop browsers are suited to handle plugins such as Flash for animation, Java for applications, and more. Mobile browsers are restricted to HTML 5. So if your browser has sections made using codes other than HTML 5, it will make it incompatible on mobile phones.
No viewport dimensions:
These help the browser size the webpage based on the mobile screen. Without this line of code, a mobile browser cannot adjust the website to fit the small screen. The website can look fine on a desktop but totally out of proportion on a mobile phone.
The website requires horizontal scrolling:
The mobile screen is vertical, which means websites must scroll in one of two directions – up or down. Having large images or wide content boxes can make the user scroll sideways to view it. Fix this error by implementing flexible CSS for the element’s height, width, and position.
Font size too small:
A small screen needs large text. Font size suitable for a desktop website and used for the mobile screen can become too small. The user has to zoom in to read a line of text. Make sure your website has larger text in the mobile version.
Buttons too close to one another:
Images, buttons, text, or navigation panels that can be clicked or tapped should not be next to each other. Converting a website from a desktop to a mobile version can cramp these elements together. Make sure there is enough space around these elements on your mobile website.
Things to remember when pivoting to a mobile-friendly website
Your customer is king, but in this case, the mobile user is the king.
So, listen to your customer. Take a deep dive into your sales and engagement reports, check out your analytics, and customise your business model that best aligns with your goals and vision.
Pivoting a brand or service doesn’t always require a radical change to your business. Thorough market research compared to your existing business model can help you identify your pain points.
The key to a successful business pivot is to do it fast. Take the first opportunity; you get to make the change and do it faster than your competitors.
In the race to be the first to pivot, you might, however, end up making irreparable mistakes. Here are some questions you can ask yourself while planning to remodel your business:
Who are my customers? How have their needs changed?
- What can I improve in my business that will better satisfy my customers?
- From where is my website getting the most organic reach?
- Do these plans align with my business goals and vision?
- What are the results I am expecting from this pivot?
- What’s next for my business after a successful pivot?
Google mobile-first index
The mobile-first index is no longer a complementary index, but the only one Google uses to index your website and place it in the search engine ranking, which means if your website is not fully optimised, you could be missing out on valuable customers.
To check if you are mobile-ready:
Go to https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly
Enter your website
Check result: Page is not mobile-friendly
The best recipe for success is preparation. Running a business comes with its share of risks, but preparing for future disasters hurt no one.
Plan and prepare, and always have a goal in mind. The market is constantly shifting, customers and their needs are also continually evolving.
To make it big in the market, you have to know when to pivot and do it efficiently and effectively. Remembering that your end goal is to satisfy your customer can help you plan for the future and set goals for improvement.
Today no longer is employing the best SEO techniques an option; if you want to optimise your site positively, it’s the norm. From our head office here at Surfers Paradise and our offices throughout Australia, we at Searchical SEO can offer concrete strategies that you can use to improve your site’s visibility.
We’re here to ensure you get the best advice to help your sales go up with expert advice on marketing strategies for your business. We have a highly qualified team with many years of experience helping business owners achieve favourable results related to their website in search results.