If you’re not mobile you’re standing still.
If your digital marketing is not focused on mobile devices, you aren’t moving anywhere. You’re not advancing.
Let’s face reality here. The most frequent way people access the internet today is on a mobile device; a smartphone, a tablet, often both; often at the same time.
“In a mobile-first world, people expect answers at their fingertips,” explains Google, which knows a thing or two about searching the internet for answers. “They turn to the nearest device to make a decision, learn something new, or get something accomplished. Connecting the dots across these micro-moments is necessary for marketers to tell a single story across devices, channels, and formats.”
We’re all on smartphones and we’re using them as our most frequently used tool through out the day. Think about it: when you want to find a bit of information where do you turn these days? To your smartphone, of course, and ask Dr. Google. Yea, everyone else does that, too, and digital marketeers need to know that and incorporate that plain fact into our efforts.
For digital natives, those (still) younger folks who don’t remember the world before smartphones, before computers in general, the rate of use is even higher than for older consumers. (And, those young folks you want to reach because they have decades to be loyal customers and supporters.)
GlobalWebIndex says the 16-24 year old crowd spends around 3.5 hours each day looking at their screens.
“Social (media) plays a major role within this daily online time, with 88% of 16-24s saying they use social networking apps and 86% using messaging apps,” says GWI, a respected world-wide research firm. “That’s yet more evidence for why instant, mobile-first strategies are so key to engaging this group.”
- We live in a mobile-first world: In an average day, more than 1/4 of all users only use a smartphone, which is nearly 2X as many as those who only use a computer.
- We freely move back and forth between devices to get things done: Over half of users rely on more than one type of device in an average day, with 1/5 of them using another device while concurrently using a computer.
- Where we are influences how we use our devices: The top three places people use their smartphones are home, work, and in a store.
- Search has gone mobile: Of those who search, nearly 4 in 10 search only on a smartphone in an average day.
- The web is one of our most used resources: Of those who browse the web in an average day, almost half do so on multiple devices. More than 7 in 10 users browse the web on their phones or computers in an average day.
Website as your base of operations
What all this means, simply put, is your website – still your base of operations – must now be found, seen and read easily (and quickly) on mobile devices, smartphones most often. If your site isn’t useful on smartphones it isnt going to fare well in search results – what we used to call, “search engine result pages,” or SERPs.
Google announced back in early November its web crawler – or spider – would soon start scanning your website as if it’s a smartphone. If, by looking at your site as a smartphone, the Googlebot doesn’t like what it sees your rank in search results will drop significantly. This isn’t happening overnight and Google will for a while yet continue to rank desktop-only sites in search results but those days are numbered and some time in the very near future they will disappear altogether.
And, yes, having a good – useful and functional – website is still essential to successful digital marketing. And, yes, as Google continues rolling out its mobile-first indexing you site should be useful on smartphones.
Speed is also essential to mobile pages – the quickness with which a mobile page loads on a smartphone screen. Google has help with that, too, through its Accelerated Mobile Pages – AMP – Project. Google claims AMP pages load four times faster than other mobile pages. And Google also claims bandwidth use is reduced by as much as 10 times when using AMP pages.
Increasingly, it will be your mobile site that matters most. Specifically, the mobile-first indexing from Google means:
- If you have a responsive site or a dynamic serving site where the primary content and markup is equivalent across mobile and desktop, you shouldn’t have to change anything.
- If you have a site configuration where the primary content and markup is different across mobile and desktop, you should consider making some changes to your site.
- Make sure to serve structured markup for both the desktop and mobile version.Sites can verify the equivalence of their structured markup across desktop and mobile by typing the URLs of both versions into the Structured Data Testing Tool and comparing the output.When adding structured data to a mobile site, avoid adding large amounts of markup that isn’t relevant to the specific information content of each document.
- Use the robots.txt testing tool to verify that your mobile version is accessible to Googlebot.
- Sites do not have to make changes to their canonical links; we’ll continue to use these links as guides to serve the appropriate results to a user searching on desktop or mobile.
- If you are a site owner who has only verified their desktop site in Search Console, please add and verify your mobile version.
- If you only have a desktop site, we’ll continue to index your desktop site just fine, even if we’re using a mobile user agent to view your site.If you are building a mobile version of your site, keep in mind that a functional desktop-oriented site can be better than a broken or incomplete mobile version of the site. It’s better for you to build up your mobile site and launch it when ready.