There’s a new imperative for businesses to ensure their websites are mobile-friendly after Google announced a switch with a big impact on digital marketing. The web search giants are migrating more websites to their mobile-first index, meaning they get preference over those designed only for desktop. So if you want to get ahead – or stay ahead – with your online marketing, it’s essential to keep mobile at the forefront of your internet marketing strategy.
It’s been the norm for a while for businesses to have a mobile-friendly, HTML5 website, built on a responsive framework to maximise online marketing. “Responsive”, in this case, means the design will scale for any device. So it makes a website work on everything from a smartphone, to a tablet, to a desktop.
Google has previously made updates to their algorithm, which prioritised websites with responsive design, and AMPs (or Accelerated Mobile Pages.) This recent news is the final nail in the coffin for old-school websites not optimised for mobile and tablet devices. Over the last few years, the figures for mobile browsing have rocketed, with a knock-on effect for internet marketing.
Everybody’s constantly on their phones, Googling the kind of stuff they used to have to remember. It’s particularly popular in countries in the Asia-Pacific region where mobile devices are far more accessible than desktop ones. Now, we’re at a turning point for digital marketing and the wider technology industry.
Every digital agency and tech guru is asking themselves the same question: how do we define a laptop?
For example, I’m writing this on a Microsoft Surface – a tablet with a detachable keyboard. I use it as my desktop computer, and use my phone for mobile. But I flit between the two, starting a job on one, finishing at my convenience on the other. My actual PC’s pretty much there for decoration, a lot of the time. It’s this switch away from tied-to-a-desk tech that is changing the way consumers digest information. Convenience is their first thought – what’s handy, what’s easy, what’s tactile and responsive. When they are on the move, that’s mobile.
The desktop’s something people use at work, and that is a key fact for ecommerce marketing – people tend to buy more when they’re away from the workplace. But the fact is, the lines are blurring as people become more used to having multiple ways to access the web, from their phone to their TV or games console. It’s getting harder for a brand or agency to know which device accounted for that precious final click. Consumers might research and browse on their tablet, think it over, then purchase your product or service on their phone. Or vice versa. Or it could be a desktop.
The important thing is that it’s your product they are buying. And to get to that final click, you’re going to have to make your website mobile-first, with all the usual caveats such as clean design, good content, ease of use, secure payments, and social media marketing that’s bang on the money. Google’s big switch is changing the game. It’s no longer all about the standard SEO services if you want to make that all-important first page. You’ve got to think about what your audience, your customers, your wouldbe clients, search on first.
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