If your business has an online or eCommerce aspect, you likely already know how vital Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) are for your company. Additionally, you may be aware of some changes the search engine giant is planning for 2021.
So, an important question is, are you ready for a mobile-first search that focuses on customers’ page experience?
If you are unsure about your website’s readiness for future updates, this post outlines helpful information about what is coming next from Google, as well as some actionable tips to help you prepare.
What is the Google Page Experience Update?
Due to be rolled out in May 2021, Google’s Page Experience Update is the latest algorithm change from the search giant. With the update, Google attempts to improve the overall experience for those searching online. Make no mistake about it; Google still cares about a site’s content, backlinks, and other SEO staples. However, those web pages which provide visitors with a seamless experience will rank better than sites where performance is poor.
At the heart of this update are the Core Web Values that will help Google see if a site offers an excellent experience. These are:
- Visual stability
These are important because they represent a vital part of the page experience.
Google’s update will play a vital role in how websites rank. While a high ranking always matters, it is even more critical in the world of mobile search.
When conducting a desktop search, searchers usually do not look much beyond the first results page. Those searching via a mobile device have fewer results than a desktop. This makes the competition even more fierce. Additionally, the competition increases for voice search, which seldom offers more than two results.
Eye-Opening Statistics About Mobile Search
If you have any doubt about the importance of mobile search, have a look over the following statistics:
- As of 2020, there were approximately four billion unique mobile Internet users. This is roughly the equivalent of 90% of the global population of Internet users connect to the Internet via mobile devices
- 55% of Internet traffic comes from mobile devices
- Worldwide E-commerce was 2.91 billion (USD)
- 64% of global retail visits were by smartphones
- 46% of international retail orders came from smartphones
- 61% of searchers are very likely to contact a business that has a mobile-friendly website
With such a significant share of the online traffic, you cannot afford to overlook mobile search.
What is Mobile-First Web Design?
Mobile-first web design includes several significant elements that make it a vital part of Google’s plans for Internet search:
- Navigating web pages is easier – Websites built for mobile use are, by design, streamlined. The menu contains just a few pages, and hamburger menus make space for other content.
- The searchers get the data they want quickly and efficiently – Most people can relate to a frustrating battle with their smartphone whilst trying to find information. Problems often occur because the desktop version of a website is running on a mobile device. Mobile-first design zeros in on what the user wants and needs and presents it cleanly and clearly. Having the core content where the user finds it leads to a win-win of improved user experience and increased conversions.
- Improves a website’s SEO – Google is forthcoming regarding its preference for websites that are ready to go with mobile-first design. Assuming all of the other SEO elements are in order, you can expect to see a bump in your site’s place on the SERPs.
Seven Tips That are Critical for Your Mobile Website
Understanding the fact that mobile-first is the way Google will operate and why is helpful information. Knowing ways to optimise your mobile design is crucial information.
Here are seven helpful tips to guide you:
Make Your Mobile Site Intuitive
Think about how you use your mobile device. When you want to order flowers for your mum, you do not want to spend time struggling to figure out where to click next. You want an easy flowing user experience, and to know that flowers are on their way.
Your customer wants your site to operate that way as well. This facet of design can be tricky because site designers spend hours looking at the same page, so various aspects seem obvious. However, your customer will look at the site for a few minutes or less. Take all of the guesswork out of using the site and go a step beyond obvious, make it natural and intuitive.
Keep Your Site Simple
The temptation to dress up your web page with numerous bells and whistles might be challenging to resist. However, your mobile site must be clear and uncluttered.
When designing for mobile, remember you are working with much less space, and the use of the area is different than it is for a desktop version of a web page.
Interacting with a mobile device is less precise than using a touchpad or a mouse. Your users will appreciate the less is more approach.
- Use a minimal number of pages
- Opt for easy to read fonts
- Use white space and wide borders for clarity
- Simplify your contact forms
- Use a minimal number of navigation links
- Limit the use of distracting graphics
Make Call-to-Action Buttons Recognisable
The Call-to-Action (CTA) button is of paramount importance. This is the way you gain potential customers’ attention and lead them towards conversion. Without a functional and apparent CTA button, your company can lose out to the competition.
Additionally, be sure you have your CTA button(s) in the most valuable places. Avoid placing CTAs too soon and make the destination apparent to the user.
Other CTA Button tips:
- Place the first CTA above the fold so users will not need to scroll down to see it
- Multiple CTAs at crucial conversion points are useful
- CTAs should be large and stand out from the rest of the screen
Your Website Must Operate at an Optimal Speed
Another way to phrase this is lack of speed kills profits. We have all seen the statistics regarding the minuscule amount of time a user will wait on a page to load. Loading speed is so vital that it is one of Google’s Page Experience Update ranking factors, so do not sleep on this.
There are a number of ways you can speed up your website, including:
- Reduce the number of Plugins
- Optimise the caching process
- Minimise redirects
- Load content above the first fold
- Enable image compression
- Use a premium hosting plan
- Test your website speed with one of the many tools available to improve page experience
Prioritise Contact Information
Potential customers who visit your website want information available to them at a glance. Chief among this is your contact information. Be sure that all of your contact information is noticeable and easy to read. Additionally, place the information in a prominent location on your site.
Graphic Design Matters
While your website needs to be uncluttered and easy to read, it does not need to be boring. In fact, a dull website is a bad idea. Customers equate a good design with a good company, and businesses who invest in their website design perform better than sites that do not put the time and money into their website design.
The number of design trends that come and go is staggering; to get the most for your money, aim for something reasonably traditional with a touch of personality. Some suggestions include:
- A colour scheme unique to your business. Usually, no more than three colours work best for this. Do not be afraid to work with contrasting colours to add interest and gain attention
- Bold shapes
- Clean lines
- Images optimised for fast loading
A Thumb-Friendly Design
When it comes to using mobile devices, the thumb is the digit that we depend upon the most. Estimates tell us that we use our thumb for about 75% of our texting, scrolling, and tapping. This is why you need to engineer your site in a thumb-friendly configuration.
Think of your mobile device’s screen divided into three sections.
- The first section is the part of your screen that is easy for your thumb to reach. The area begins about halfway down the screen and extends downward, stopping shortly before the bottom.
- The second section requires your thumb to stretch a bit to reach it. This is not necessarily painful, but it is not as comfortable as the first section. This area arcs over and wraps around the easy section.
- The third section of your mobile screen is difficult and somewhat painful for your thumb to reach. It covers the top quarter of the screen as well as the area below and beside the first and second sections.
To make your website as easy (and painless) to navigate as possible, place the essential interactive parts within the first section. You will want your CTAs in this section.
Mobile First Web Design Is Critical for Your Business
As you can see, building a mobile-first website is vital for your company if you hope to compete in the virtual marketplace. Additionally, it is an exacting and multi-faceted process that needs occasional tweaking over time.
If you do not have the time or the personnel to create a mobile-friendly website, consider working with an experienced team of experts with years of experience in the field.
Contact us for more information or a quote today.