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How To Beat the Fortune 100 in Google Using Mobile Websites

By on December 10th, 2014

When it comes to ranking higher in Google, many small business owners often struggle to overtake larger companies with alot more resources.

But, guess what?  There’s hope.  And it comes in the form of mobile website optimization.

And although the websites of some of the world’s top companies, including Exxon and General Electric are doing their best when it comes to mobile optimization, not all of them are exactly batting a thousand. In fact, of the Fortune 100, only a shameful nine are utilizing Responsive Web Design.

You see, mobile is now more important than ever. With a huge portion of the population utilizing mobile devices to access the internet, mobile usage is quickly taking over, and even replacing, the use of laptops and desktops.

This is important because Google is placing more and more emphasis not only on content but on mobile website optimization when it comes to serving up search results.

In a recent mobile websites test, the Search Agency rated the Fortune 100 on five mobile categories. These were: 

  • load speed
  • format
  • download speed
  • social media integration
  • strength of their correspondent app

Each category was scored between one and five, with the sum of the five categories averaged for a final score.

Only a very few companies scored over four and none had a perfect score. The categories of download speed, social media, and the app suffering the most.

So, can small businesses really stay in front of the Fortune 100’s mobile optimization efforts?

YES!  At least for the time being.

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Photo by Ariel Zambelich/Wired

The playing field is level, and the time to take advantage of it is ripe – especially since Google has started to look at how well a mobile website adheres to these practices as it compiles search results.  

So you’re probably wondering, “What do I need to do in order to get a jump on my competition?”  Well, we’ve got the perfect list of mobile best practices for you – straight from Google – so that you can make your website “smartphone-optimized”.

1. Understand that desktop and mobile are fundamentally different.

A smaller version of the desktop webpage will not work. Mobile needs its own website, tailored both to the smaller screen and to the smartphone/mobile device ideology; i.e. users are rarely looking to browse. Instead they are looking for a specific piece of information. Make it readily available to them. And use responsive web design. Do this and you’ll be ahead of 91% of the Fortune 100.

2. Avoid using video formats that won’t play on mobile devices.

This is a serious problem, especially if video is a large part of your marketing campaign. Having videos that only play on desktop is next to useless these days, especially videos posted to your social media pages. People check social media on their mobile devices far more often that they check them on a laptop or desktop and having a video that cannot be played on the mobile version of the website will likely not be viewed by the majority of people.

3. Resolve faulty redirects.

When a user clicks on a link to another part of your website, he or she wants to go to that part of your website. One of the biggest problems with mobile browsing is the problem of faulty redirects. It makes browsing unpleasant and impossible and will eventually just cause your page viewers to give up. The simplest way to solve this problem is to thoroughly test your mobile website, find any misdirects, and then scour the code for the problem.

4. Resolve consistent 404 errors.

Another error that can drive your page viewers to someone else’s website, are 404 errors. Try and solve these immediately. Sometimes, the page simply goes down and there is nothing you can do about that problem until it comes to your attention. However, if your mobile website is consistently impossible to navigate, not only will people avoid your mobile site, they may start to avoid your desktop website as well.

5. Don’t redirect to a desktop site from your mobile site.

It may seem like a timesaver to have a mobile landing page that is easy to navigate on a mobile device that then redirects the viewer to the main website for more information. However, desktop sites rarely display correctly or even visibly on the smaller screens, and require much more work to navigate, especially if the viewer is trying to read something on screen—getting the text large enough to read requires a lot of zooming and the reading itself requires lots of swiping. It causes confusion and frustration, which are two things you do not want your mobile website to cause for potential customers and clients.

6. Don’t ask your page visitors to download your mobile app with a popup advertisement.

This is one of the most annoying faux pas that mobile site builders can introduce into the code. While many companies see this as helpful to the user, it is actually more irritating than anything else. All it does is divert your viewers away from the content they were originally looking for. While it may also be available on the app, most people would prefer accessing a well-designed mobile website for occasional information than having a dedicated app on their device.

When your website is easy to access…

These best practices can help you solve some of the most common problems that users have with mobile web browsing. When your website is easy to access, it makes for easy browsing and higher conversions. When it is difficult to access, it almost always drives traffic away, which results in lost business.

Start implemeting these practices today and then track your organic traffic, time on site, and conversions.  We’re pretty sure you’ll see an increase in all areas.  Then drop us line or a comment and let us know how you did.


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