Why a Mobile-Friendly Website is Essential to a Successful SEO Strategy in 2019

Surprisingly, many organizations still don’t have mobile-friendly websites despite there being over 5 billion unique mobile subscribers worldwide. Usually, they are reluctant to invest because they lack resources or don’t see the value. If your organization falls into this category, and you would like your brand to remain relevant on the most widely used search engines in 2019—which, let’s face it, is quickly approaching—you need to invest in a mobile-friendly website.

Here are three reasons your organization must have a mobile-friendly website as you gear up for 2019.

Reason 1: Increased Mobile Visits

Now that Google labels websites that are optimized for mobile as “mobile-friendly” within its mobile search results, failing to have a mobile-friendly website can have a negative impact on your website’s click-through rate (CTR).

Think about it this way. If a user performs a search with their mobile device, and four of the top five results have a mobile-friendly designation, if all other parameters are equal, the mobile user will give preference to the four results that Google identifies as “mobile-friendly.” This results in a greatly reduced number of click-throughs for websites that haven’t been optimized for mobile while simultaneously stimulating the volume of click-throughs for websites that are.

Fortunately, Google provides a tool that allows website owners to test if their website is mobile-friendly. If a website passes this test, it will receive the mobile-friendly designation.

Reason 2: Higher Mobile Rankings

Google already penalizes websites in mobile search that are not mobile-friendly to ensure that websites that have been optimized for mobile devices rank higher. The world’s most widely used search engine is dedicated to improving the experience of surfing the internet, which is why mobile optimization is so highly coveted. Since 2014, mobile-friendly sites have been steadily increasing in ranking while others have been demoted to search engine results pages (SERPs) that rarely see human eyes.

Consider this quote from the Google blog post that announced the new “mobile-friendly” labels:

“We see these labels as a first step in helping mobile users to have a better mobile web experience. We are also experimenting with using the mobile-friendly criteria as a ranking signal.” This announcement was made in 2014. Four years later, Google’s dedication to mobile-friendly websites has been unwavering, and mobile optimization has become the foundation of a successful online presence.

Reason 3: Increased Revenue From Mobile

If increasing rankings and click-throughs to your website don’t provide enough incentive to invest in a  mobile-friendly website, hopefully, lost revenue is. Lacking a mobile-friendly website at a time when so many users are turning to mobile devices to find the products and services they need is essentially forfeiting customers over to your competition.

The bottom line is this: without a mobile-friendly website, your organization is already losing revenue. Consumers are becoming less and less willing to put up with poor user-experiences on their mobile devices. If your organization fails to adapt to changing expectations, you will fall by the wayside as your prospective customers seek out the path of least resistance to an improved user experience. Typically, this path will lead them straight to your competitors who have invested in a mobile-friendly website. If you want to continue growing your business in 2019, a mobile-friendly website is crucial to your ongoing success.

Conclusion

Ensure that your organization has a successful SEO strategy in 2019 with a mobile-friendly website. Your organization will benefit from more click-throughs, higher rankings, and most importantly, increased revenue.

Mobile phones possess nearly all of the functionalities of a desktop computer, so it comes as little surprise that more and more interactions are taking place on mobile devices. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile, you risk missing out the important micro-moments that drive potential customers into your marketing funnel. At Leverage Digital, our creatives work side-by-side with our web development team to craft award-winning websites that feature superior performance on displays of all sizes.

Ready to partner with an award-winning agency that delivers results? Let’s get started.

 

Optimizing Your Online Presence for a Seamless User Experience on All Devices

Brands often create content strategies that cater to specific devices and their expected user behavior. Does smartphone and tablet user behavior differ so much that unique content strategies have to be crafted around each device, or should brands provide content that caters to the user regardless of their device?

Seamless experiences are extremely important to users. When users can access your content from any device, you boost engagement and increase the probability of conversion. If your brand wants to stay competitive, you have to decide if you’re willing to invest in a cohesive user experience that encourages sales and prevents customers from leaving your site to interact with one of your competitors.

Mobile Users

Mobile users are typically on the go. They want information quickly so they can take immediate action. They’re generally interacting with their devices to find phone numbers, get directions, schedule appointments, find hours of operation, place orders, and so on.

Because on-the-go users expect quick information, we’re seeing a sharp rise in the number of dedicated mobile websites that present only essential information for smartphone users with high purchase intent. However, many users feel like these mobile-optimized sites don’t have enough information.

Is providing a stripped down version of your brand’s website really the best strategy? In reality, not all smartphone users are in a hurry, and many of them have the desire to digest more content if it’s readily available.

Therefore, brands must find a way to strike a balance that provides smartphone users with a positive user-experience without sacrificing content. In other words, brands should continue to prioritize pertinent, task-oriented content for on-the-go users with high purchase intent, while also making additional content available for the smartphone users that want it.

Tablet Users

Due to their larger screen size, tablets are preferred over smartphones for performing research and other activities like reading and watching videos. Despite only a few inches separating mobile displays and tablet displays, there is a sharp contrast between user behavior for tablets and mobile phones.

As a result, brands often serve the same content to tablets and desktops. A lack of content isn’t the issue, but issues do arise when brands rely on their desktop user-interface to capably serve users who are interacting with your brand via tablet.

Navigating a website designed for desktop on a tablet can be cumbersome. The optimal solution is for brands to provide the same content available to desktop users, but in a user-interface designed for tablets.

The purchase intent of tablet users also differs from mobile users since tablet users are more likely to utilize their device for researching products and services that may potentially result in a sale sometime in the future. So, although purchase intent may typically be lower for tablet users, tablets still play a fundamental role in facilitating the purchase process, particularly for products or services that require a high level of involvement from the user.

Example

Take for example someone looking to buy a new 60-inch television. Before making the purchase, the user probably researches different models, product specifications, and customer reviews. This research is most likely performed on a tablet or desktop in a home environment.

After the user narrows down their options, and goes to the store to physically see the models they’re interested in, they will most likely rely on their mobile device to recall that same information. This is a critical moment because the user-experience is disrupted when the mobile version of that store’s website is stripped down to the point where it is missing the information the user is attempting to find.

This can lead to the user referring to a competing website to find the information they’re looking for. If that competitor just so happens to also have better prices, the disruption in user-experience may ultimately result in a lost sale.

This is a perfect real-world example of why brands should provide their customers with a consistent experience across all devices. Failing to do so not only frustrates the customer and negatively impacts brand perception, but also disengages the customer, and gives them a reason to refer to your competitors.

Conclusion

Consumers expect to have access to the same content regardless of device. Meeting this expectation can result in better brand perception and increased sales, while failing to meet this expectation can result in stifled user engagement, limited sales, and diluted SERP rankings.

Our award-winning agency understands that providing a seamless user experience for your customers is integral to capitalizing on every visit to your website. Driving traffic to your website is important, but your ultimate goal is to convert those users into customers. We provide our clients with the online infrastructure to dominate the competition and the support to ensure that their customers’ experiences are unparalleled.

Ready to partner with an award-winning agency that delivers results? Let’s get started.

 

Designing for Your Content

Design is everything you see. ​When designing your website, remember that your site will not only be viewed on the computer but on every possible digital platform. A designer’s job is to create a cohesive look that ensures your brand looks great on all platforms. The content on your website is what tells your story and helps sell your product. Showcasing your content in an effective way is the most important aspect of a designer’s job.

A CONTENT FOCUSED DESIGN

There are a few ways to approach designing for your content. The most common way is to start on a desktop computer, which then gets translated to various size screens that are usually smaller. The issue with going from big to small (computer to phone) is trying to squeeze the same content into a much smaller area while also considering the limitations of a mobile device. The solution then would be to start small and go big. This is called Mobile First, a current buzzword in the design community. The issue remains—big to small and small to big won’t always translate without usability being compromised. Considering the optimal design for content will make it easier to display the content on any device. Case and point, think about your users and how they will view your content and design with them in mind.

IT’S ABOUT BALANCE

The balance of content is an art. To achieve the balance, you must start with content first. If you take into account who is using your website and what the end goal of that user is, you will have a good foundation for building a functional and usable website. It can be big to small or small to big. It should not be dictated strictly by one or the other, it should be customized for your brand content first.

CONTENT IS KEY

Thinking about your content before you think about the device will make you more flexible with the design, as well as create a streamlined and easy user experience. So if you hear buzzwords such as Mobile First, make sure your designer has your content in mind, not just a defined method that may or may not work for your brand.

Leverage our expertise. Work with us.

 

Go Mobile or Become Irrelevant in Google Mobile Search

Google’s Announcement

In February, Google announced that beginning April 21, they will expand their use of mobile-usability as a ranking signal, and that this algorithm update will have a significant impact on Google Search results. Google is providing what is essentially a deadline to encourage those who haven’t already adapted their websites to mobile to begin making this transition. Even prior to this announcement, Google’s intentions were clear as it made a strong push to encourage website owners to make their web properties mobile-friendly. This included adding “mobile-friendly” labels to their mobile search results, and providing mobile-usability warnings in Google Webmaster Tools.

Mobile-Friendly Websites Will Become the Norm

Up until now, having a mobile-friendly website has been a competitive advantage for most organizations. However, with this announcement, mobile-friendly websites will quickly become the norm as organizations scramble to remain relevant in mobile search. Moving forward, those organizations that provide visitors with the best mobile-experience will have the competitive advantage.

Responsive Design is Still Google’s Preferred Mobile Solution

One thing that remains constant is that Google still recommends responsive design as its preferred mobile solution. Google believes responsive web design provides a better user-experience because it’s less prone to errors than dedicated mobile sites, and we at Leverage Digital tend to agree with this sentiment. We have encouraged our clients to begin making the transition to responsive design since 2013, and those that heeded our advice, will likely benefit from Google’s upcoming algorithm update.

If you’re still on the fence about making the switch to mobile, now is the time to do it, if SEO is a strategic priority. Failure to adapt your website to mobile may result in a significant decline in mobile search rankings and mobile traffic once the algorithm update goes into effect.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, please call us today at (866) 611-6267 or submit our contact request form.

Google Sends Mobile-Usability Warnings to Webmasters

Mobile Search is a High Priority For Google

In an unprecedented move by Google, webmasters of sites that are not mobile-friendly are receiving warning notifications on a mass scale that mobile-usability issues are present and their website will be ranked accordingly for smartphone devices. This comes after Google recently began providing mobile-friendly labels in mobile search results for websites that are optimized for mobile. Specific changes to the search algorithm have not been announced, but it is clear that supplying mobile-users with a positive experience is a very high priority for Google.

What Does this Mean for Your Organization?

If your organization relies on search visibility and search traffic in any capacity to generate new business, but fails to implement a mobile-friendly website soon, chances are your organization will be negatively affected by these impending changes. As a Tampa website design company that specializes in SEO, we highly recommend responsive web design as a solution for making your organization’s website mobile-friendly. This is Google’s recommendation as well.

It’s time to understand and appreciate the prevalence of mobile search. More and more people rely on their mobile devices to search for information, and Google is having to adapt to this change in consumer behavior. As such, Google must reward websites that help them provide users with a positive mobile search experience in the form of higher rankings, and penalize websites that hinder these efforts.

mobile-seo-errors

If you would like more information or to schedule a consultation, please call us today at (866) 611-6267 or fill out our contact request form.

Bing Ranks Mobile-Friendly Sites Higher on Mobile Search

As a web design company in Tampa, we can confirm that having a mobile-friendly website can have a direct and substantial impact on an organization’s revenue. This should be reason enough to update your existing website if it is not designed with mobile use in mind, but now major search engines are giving businesses another incentive to develop an online presence that is in-line with consumer behavior, increased rankings. Bing, which also powers Yahoo, represents 29% of the search market industry, and sees 5.2 billion searches each month, recently made a big announcement in regards to mobile rankings. The first part of their announcement that was published to Bing’s official blog last month outlines the company’s ever-changing “relationship” with mobile. They began by saying how search results across desktop, tablet, and smartphone devices were the same in the past, but because as they state, “we live in a mobile-first, cloud-first world and we need to think about our users’ search experience on mobile devices differently.”

Why the Change? User-Experience.

If you’re wondering why this major change to Bing’s search algorithm happened, it can be explained in one word, user-experience. Bing identified, one, that mobile use is rising exponentially each year, and two, users are frustrated when they find search results that either don’t work because they use mobile-incompatible software like Adobe Flash or make it impossible to read and perform functions because text and links are too small. Bing’s solution the to changes in how people access information is to provide users with unique results based off the device they are using to perform a search. So, when a search is performed on a mobile device, mobile-friendly websites are given priority and rank higher than sites that are not mobile-friendly. This is big news for organizations that rely on search traffic to bring in new business, and can have a tangible negative impact on revenue if mobile rankings are lost for lack of a mobile-friendly website. It is important to keep in mind that two unique search results presents more work and more cost for Bing. So, for now they are crawling websites differently, but this might not always be the case and companies that do not embrace mobile could be completely removed from all search rankings in the near future.

How Bing Determines Mobile Rankings

1. Identifies and classifies mobile and device-friendly web pages and websites
2. Analyzes web documents from a mobile point-of-view by looking at: content compatibility and content readability
3. Mobile functionality (to weed out “junk”, that is pages that are 404 on mobile or Flash only etc.)
4. Returns more mobile-friendly URLs to the mobile SERP
5. Ranks the results pages based on all of the above

Bing Recommends Responsive Design

Mobile is not a growing trend, it is here now, and while it may have been easy to ignore the necessity of making the jump to a mobile-friendly website before, now there are real financial implications that will result from search engines removing listings that provide a negative user-experience. Another important consideration results from whether it is better to choose a unique mobile website or a responsive website that adapts to users’ screen sizes. For this question, Bing states, “we continue to recommend you use responsive designs over separate mobile (m.*) sites and ensure a great experience for users on all devices and avoid compatibility, readability, and functionality issues.”

If your organization does not have a mobile-friendly website, as a Tampa web design company that specializes in responsive design, we cannot stress enough the importance of making the change and redesigning your website to create a positive website experience for mobile visitors.

Does your organization need a mobile-friendly website? Please call us today at (866) 611-6267 or submit our consultation request form.

How to Earn Google’s Mobile Seal of Approval

Google Adds “Mobile-Friendly” Label to Search Results

As a web design company in Tampa, we see first hand how mobile user-behavior is completely changing the way businesses communicate with their customers. Because of this, we can not stress enough that if your company has not taken steps to create a positive user-experience for mobile users, you are losing out on potential customers.

There are endless statistics that our Tampa website design team could highlight from mobile use and website traffic studies, but we are able draw from our own clients’ websites, which on average currently receive 30-35% of website traffic from mobile devices. In other words, roughly one-third of people visiting our client’s websites are on a smartphone or tablet. These visits equate to dollars, and with recent changes to Google’s search results, there are even more added benefits to having a mobile-friendly website. Starting last month, Google began adding “Mobile-Friendly” labels in the search results that identify if a website is optimized for mobile devices. This comes after they began adding warnings for websites that incorporate Flash: “Uses Flash. May not work on your device.”

To see if your website can pass the test and earn the coveted mobile seal of approval from Google, take Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.

Google’s Mobile Criteria

So how does Google determine if a website is mobile friendly? Well, for starters they make sure that mobile incompatible software, like Flash is not utilized anywhere on your website. Then, it’s all about the content experience. Users should be able to easily read text from their phone without having to zoom in or scroll horizontally. This also goes for images and videos. All content on your website should adapt to the screen size of the device. The next thing Google looks for is link placement. All links should be far enough apart, so users can easily tap on the one they want.

To reiterate the criteria:

1. Your website should use mobile friendly software.

2. Text should be easily read without scrolling horizontally or zooming.

3. Links should be placed far enough apart for users to easily tap the correct one.

Your website is a direct reflection of your company, make sure yours is sending the right message to your current and future customers. If you haven’t made the leap towards mobile, and have question about how to make your website for mobile-friendly, our Tampa web design team is happy to provide you with answers and help you create a better, more enjoyable user-experience for your customers.

If your organization’s website is not mobile-friendly, please call us today at (866) 611-6267 or submit our consultation request form.

Leverage Digital Launches MDS Painting Website Redesign

About MDS Painting

MDS Painting was founded in 2009 with the goal of providing premiere residential and commercial painting services to homeowners, property managers, and builders throughout Tampa Bay. MDS Painting partnered with Leverage Digital to develop a professional website that would achieve the following objectives:

Objective 1: Distinguish MDS Painting from competitors

Solution: To distinguish MDS Painting from their competition, we designed a clean, user-friendly interface with an intuitive navigation structure that provides both a great first impression and user-experience to prospective customers. We incorporated a homepage slider to showcase MDS Painting’s capabilities and strategically placed testimonials to promote MDS Painting’s solid track record and credibility, further distinguishing them from the competition.

Objective 2: Provide a seamless cross-device, user-experience

Solution: MDS Painting understood the necessity for their customers to be able to access their website from desktops, tablets, and smartphones. So, we created a website that adapts to all of these devices, allowing for a seamless cross-device user-experience.

Objective 3: Communicate effectively to multiple customer segments

Solution: MDS Painting provides painting services to varied types of clientele, including homeowners, property managers, and builders. For the website to communicate effectively to these very different segments, our team identified the specific needs of each segment, and created content that catered to them. The content was then organized to intuitively guide visitors to the information that is relevant to them. Homepage feature boxes and dynamic drop-down navigation was used to further improve the accessibility of the segmented content.

Objective 4: Generate new business

Solution: MDS Painting wanted a website that not only represented their brand well and reinforced credibility, but also wanted a website that would generate new business. As a result, we created a user workflow that guides prospective customers strategically through the site, builds value in MDS Painting’s services along the way, and ultimately drives them to take action. Strategy placed calls-to-action and a user-friendly quote request form are used to facilitate the lead generation process.

The MDS Painting website can be viewed at http://mdspaintingco.com/.

Testimonial

“Our website design with Leverage Digital was a great experience all around. They were a pleasure to work with throughout the entire process. From our initial consultation to the day our site went live, I knew I was working with a professional team that truly cared about the end product. I plan to work with them again and would gladly refer them to friends and colleagues.” – Michael Smith / Owner

A Societal Shift Towards Smartphones & What It Means For Your Business

It’s time to shift thinking away from the idea that smartphone usage is only for people on the go. In today’s reality, the relationship between consumers and their smartphones expands far beyond a means to find a location, send a text, or make a call. In a 2013 mobile consumer survey by Google, 58% of smartphone users stated that they use their device to stay informed by reviewing websites, products, and news online, and 82% stated they use their device to casually browse the internet. Social patterns and behaviors have shifted and every aspect of people’s lives are integrated with their smartphone in hand.

With this evolution in behavior, a societal expectation has emerged. Consumers expect the ability to access online information from anywhere and at any time with the same user experience across all devices. To sum up their survey findings, Google states, “Having a mobile-optimised site is critical and a cross-channel strategy is needed to engage consumers across the multiple paths to purchase.”

What does this mean for your business?

Your Brand Must Be Mobile

For starters, it is a necessity to embrace mobile and cater to your mobile customers. Whether it be through a mobile-friendly website, a mobile app, or a combination of both, your brand should be able to connect with your audience through their mobile devices. If that communication channel is disrupted, brand perception suffers, because it sends a message that says, “I am out of tune or don’t care about the needs of my customers.”

Your Sales Strategy Must Be Mobile

By building sales strategies around smartphone usage, you will see an increase in mobile conversions. In the aforementioned Google consumer survey, 46% of smartphone users stated that they made a purchase directly from their device, and of those, 60% make at least one smartphone purchase every month. The survey also shows that 38% of smartphone users made an offline purchase as a result of preliminary research performed on their smartphone.

Conclusion

Technology is advancing at a rapid pace, and it is important for your business to stay current with these changes or run the risk of alienating prospective customers. If you don’t have the time, capabilities, or desire to develop a mobile strategy in-house, consult with a Tampa web design company that specializes in mobile. Mobile is not a thing of the future. Consumer behavior is changing now, and smartphones are at the center of this societal shift.

Download the entire Google mobile consumer survey.

For more information regarding how to develop a successful mobile strategy, please call (866) 611-6267 or submit our consultation request form.

How to Optimize Your Website for Smartphone Conversions

Consumers are becoming increasingly accustomed to doing a large portion of their online browsing and shopping from the convenience of their smartphone. Therefore, if your website fails to deliver a mobile-friendly experience, consumers will move on to a competing website that can.

To begin converting more smartphone visitors into paying customers, implement these actionable tips into your website today.

1. Customize Content for Smartphone Users

One of the most important things to consider when optimizing your website for smartphone conversions is your content. If smartphone users have to sift through irrelevant content to find what they’re looking for, the likelihood of them staying on your website long enough to convert into a purchase or lead will dramatically decrease. Smartphone users are typically on-the-go, and want to find what they are looking for quickly. The information provided should be clear, concise, and crafted around the intent of the smartphone user. Keep in mind that when customers are on-the-go, they typically want to find a businesses location, phone number, or hours of operation. So, make sure these details are readily available and highly visible on your website.

2. Organize CTAs Accordingly with Smartphone Behavior

When it comes to optimizing your website for smartphone conversions, make sure your calls to action are legible and large enough that smartphone users do not have to pinch and zoom to read or click on them. Then, determine which calls to action will be most effective for smartphone users. Remember, smartphone users are on-the-go. While a call to action to download an in-depth 20-page white paper may be a huge success for desktop users, it is very unlikely that smartphone users will want to open and read that same paper on their smartphone device. More effective calls to action for a mobile user may be “Find a Store,” “Click to Call,” or “Get Directions.” Such calls to action prompt conversions and are formulated specifically around the smartphone user-experience.

3. Keep Contact Forms Short & Simple

As a Tampa web design agency that specializes in responsive web design, we recommend keeping contact forms short and simple when optimizing your website for smartphone users. Forms that require less information to be submitted perform better than forms that require a greater amount of information. This is especially true for smartphone users. The smaller screen sizes of smartphone devices make it difficult for smartphone users to input a lot of information, and may deter them from completing the form. The goal of your forms is to gain leads, so the less information your forms require from smartphone users, the better.

Leverage Digital specializes in mobile and responsive web design services in Tampa. For more information, please call us today at (866) 611-6267 or submit our consultation request form.