As bad as it may be, as soon as the sun starts shining (yeah, I know not much recently) and we roll over to get up, the first thing we reach for is our smartphone, even before we brush our teeth, or make a cuppa. Granted many of us are reaching to switch off the morning alarm, but do we switch it off and get up, nope, we do a quick check of emails and social accounts before heading to the bathroom where according to a 2019 survey of 1,200 US residents over the age of 18 showed that 88% used their device whilst on the toilet, and nearly 50% take it with them every time. It really does seem like smartphones are critical to everyday functions, urgh!
Enough dirty talk, as much as this may sound like a cliche, mobile devices have really become a crucial part of our lives, so it isn’t a surprise when we hear that mobile phones generated 54.25% of web traffic, with desktops lagging behind at 42.9% in 2021 globally, in some jurisdictions the figure was much higher, Africa had the highest mobile traffic at 70%.
According to Google the percentage of mobile-based searches was up to 58% last year and depending on the industry, the percentage was even higher, see the below table.
Google said goodbye to desktop crawls in March 2021, since most of their users now access Google Search from mobile, meaning Google is using the mobile version of your website for indexing and ranking purposes, and having a ‘Mobile First’ strategy is a must to be visible, and competitive. This leads us on to the main part of our blog.
Speeds are slowing us down
Historically Google used desktop versions of web pages for indexing and ranking purposes, however, as we have already heard, this changed in March 2021. With first-hand knowledge, we know that businesses are struggling with mobile optimisation, in-fact over 95% of our website audits on our prospective clients fail Google’s Page Insights test for mobile, which not only guarantees that your website is being downranked for mobile, it is also being down ranked on desktop too.
What is the biggest contributor to Google ranking? The above images should give you a clue, its load times. In fact if you check out the top 10 searches in Google, you will find that the top results load faster than those that don’t.
Now let’s put what we have learned together so far:
1. Mobile phones generated 54.25% of web traffic in 2021.
2. Mobile based searches were at 58% in 2021 on average.
3. Google started using mobile versions of pages for ranking both mobile and desktop web page versions from March 2021.
I have another couple of stats to throw in the mix. 53% of mobile users abandon sites that take over 3 seconds to load, according to research by Google, and in the same research, Google found that 79% of people will revisit or share the content from a mobile device if it’s easy to use.
Focus on ‘Mobile First’ not ‘Mobile Friendly’
Firstly, we need to understand what the differences are between ‘Mobile Friendly’ and ‘Mobile First. A ‘Mobile Friendly’ website focuses on desktop as the dominant design, but makes it accessible for Android and iOS users, allowing the desktop screen to be resized for mobile screens, but the experience has been designed for desktops.
A ‘Mobile First’ website is one that has been designed for mobile-first before any designs have been made for desktops, this is the strategy that we should all take moving forward as a recent study predicts that by 2025, 72.6% of internet users will come from smartphones, which is close to 3.7 billion.
Tips for optimising the mobile experience
TIP 1: Focus on ‘Mobile First’. This will open the door to new markets increase customers
reach and retain existing clients.
TIP 2: Make sure that the content that is on mobile is the same as for desktop. Since almost all indexing is coming from mobile, make sure that your mobile content doesn’t have less than your desktop.
TIP 3: Optimise for speed. Bounce times can be reduced by over 90% when we reduce load times from 5 seconds to 1 second.
To conclude, the last couple of years have really shown to the world how important mobile devices are for our work, keeping in touch with friends and family, news and for entertainment. The pandemic has proven that mobile-first websites are critical for personal and business usage, and with expectations that usage will grow exponentially by 2025, to be competitive you really do not to start making changes now.
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