Smartphones have overtaken laptops as the popular device for connecting online in the UK for the first time ever. Research unveiled by Ofcom found that 33% of Britons opted for smartphones as the device of choice in 2014, ahead of 30% who preferred laptops.
Ofcom has labelled the toppling of the laptop as a “landmark moment”. The report also discovered that two-thirds of people in the UK now own a smartphone, up from 39% in 2012, and they use them for nearly two hours every day to access the internet.
Britons are estimated to spend an average of £2,000 a year online – with the majority of this being from a mobile device, companies need to spend more time than ever making sure their websites are responsive and optimised for mobile.
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Over 50% of world’s population is using mobile devices to search the web, and with mobile users expected to reach 6.1 billion by 2020, search on mobile devices is only expected to increase.
In April of this year, Google launched a major update to its mobile search algorithm. The update titled “Mobile-geddon” has changed the order of a website’s rankings when a user searches for something on their phone; favouring businesses with mobile-friendly websites.
In June 2014, Bright Edge reported that mobile search results were 62% different than desktop results. SEO Clarity reported that this number was 67% prior to the update in April but it has climbed to as high as 73.1% following the update, meaning it’s important to consider how your ranking differs on mobiles.
What is a ‘mobile-friendly’ website?
A mobile-friendly website is a site that is optimised for hand-held devices, such as a smartphones and tablets. It must load fast, be easy to read, easy to navigate, with minimal scrolling. Large text and easy-to-click links are also looked upon favourably by Google. Websites that aren’t mobile-friendly, even if their sites include relevant content, will rank lower than desktop searches and potentially lose web traffic.
How to make your website ‘mobile-friendly’
The first step in this process is to check whether your website is already mobile-friendly. Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test allows you to enter the URL of your website and analyse its status.
It will show you how a Googlebot views your screen and list the areas of your website that are not mobile-friendly, such as the content is being too wide or the links being placed too close together. Here are some simple tips to help you optimise your website for mobile:
- Images: Speed is a big part of Google’s new mobile algorithm. Large images slow down the speed at which your web pages load, affecting where you’ll rank in search results. Decreasing the size of your images, both in dimension and file size, will increase your speed, making you more mobile-friendly.
- Navigation: It’s important to think about your navigation. Less is more when it comes to mobile. Try to limit the number of options per menu and never have more than two layers.
- Responsive Theme: Another area to asses is your website’s theme. Most new themes allow you to check whether it is responsive on handheld devices but a lot of older themes don’t have this capability. If you’re using an older theme, then be safe and update it.
- Fluid Layout: Having fluid layout can be key to having a responsive website on all platforms. All that is required is to replace static widths with percentage-based widths in the CSS. You may require the help of an experienced advanced web developer for this purpose.
- CMS: Alternatively, making your site mobile-friendly could be as simple as updating your CMS to the latest version and applying the necessary security upgrades.
If you’d like further advice on how to ensure that your online assets are optimised for desktop and mobile devices then get in touch with me in complete confidence at email@example.com or on tel: +44 (0) 203 542 868.