Ever since the dawn of mobile devices in 2007, web browsing has become revolutionized. Searching a topic, place, or question on a search engine was once something that was restricted only to a desktop computer or a laptop when connected to WiFi. Today, 68% of adult Americans have a smartphone, meaning that they have access to the endless vastness that is the internet, at any time, from nearly any place. This is a 35% increase from only 4 years ago, meaning that the amount of users will only continue to grow. It is predicted that in a few short years, the amount of active mobile devices will outnumber people on earth.
On April 21st, 2015, many business owners – especially those with products available for purchase on their site – were hit with arguably the most important advancement in eCommerce. Effective on that date, Google primarily lists sites that are “mobile friendly” on the first page of a search. In a recent study, it was discovered that 60% of internet traffic comes from mobile devices. It makes sense, therefore, that sites who want as many clicks and site views as possible would switch to a layout complementary to a smartphone or tablet with their website engineer. Some are referring to this upset as “Mobile-Geddon”, due to the amount of sites that cannot afford to upgrade and are left in the dust: the last options in a web search due to lack of accessibility. This could mean loss of customers, website traffic, brand recognition, and overall profit.
In Google’s ranking evaluation, they consider two factors: a website’s Bounce Rate and Click Back.
- A high Bounce Rate is when a user clicks on a link to a website through to another site. In other words, it occurs when someone uses a business’s page as a stepping stone to get to another site. A Bounce rate does not occur when the user enters in a new URL or by clicking a link that navigates to a different page on the site.
- Click Back occurs when a user clicks the “back” button to leave the site because it is difficult to use, outdated, etc. Google has the ability to record the user’s time on the site before they click “back”.
Furthermore, a High Bounce Rate (clicking out of a site soon after it is accessed), or a low Click Back Time (when someone quickly decides they want to view a different site on the search) is both tracked by Google and used as tools for their rankings. If these two factors are tracked properly and traced back to the page, Google will assume the site is not user friendly and/or is poorly designed, putting the site even further down the line of the search engine. Yikes.
Numbers Don’t Lie
It is said that the average American spends over 2 hours a day on their smartphone or mobile device. That could easily amount to 60 hours a month. This has changed not only the way America conducts information search, but has forever evolved online shopping. The 2015 State of Mobile Commerce Report stated that last year nearly 4 in 10 transactions occurred over a mobile device. 44% of shoppers said they conducted browsing for their product on a smartphone or tablet before purchase.
Furthermore, whether or not a business has a shopping cart on their site or not, it is clear to see that mobile websites are also crucial for browsing. Try to imagine a better tool in the hands of a tourist than a smartphone. There are not many! Someone traveling through an unfamiliar town will not just use it for navigation and searching local shops, but eateries as well. Tourists and frequent restaurant-goers benefit from a mobile-friendly website in countless ways; giving them access to ratings, prices, menu, and directions. In a different study conducted for local restaurant searches, 75% of users stated that they made the decision on where to eat based on the search made on their device.
It is therefore a no-brainer that mobile access is mandatory for any business to succeed and to be seen by the public. Smartphone owners used to be the exception – and now, in a few short years, have become the majority. Any company offering a service or a product that wants to be found will make the switch to mobile optimization. This method of researching and recreation is a way of life, and it is here to stay. Do not wait – mobilize your website today!