It wasn’t that long ago that responsive, mobile-friendly web design was considered a nice bonus feature rather than a must-have. And although a lot of web designers still look at things that way, that attitude needs to change pronto. Google’s ‘Mobilegeddon’ update, released in April 2015, prioritizes search engine rankings for those sites that look fantastic on a wide range of devices, particularly smartphones.
This new search algorithm was considered premature by many. In fact, early reports showed that there wasn’t much impact at all at first. Over time, though, statistics have shown that once again the all-powerful Google was right on the money: Mobilegeddon was just the beginning. The Internet as we know it is changing.
It’s Time to Put Mobile Marketing First
So what does all this mean for you? Among our own clients, we know that mobile and tablet use now accounts for 50 to 67 percent of all traffic. For us, that means mobile marketing really needs to come first rather than being slapped on as an afterthought. Within the next year or two, we predict that web design and marketing will both shift to prioritize mobile devices over traditional laptops and desktops. For a lot of marketing companies and businesses, things are headed that way already.
And no wonder—the numbers are pretty convincing. For the first time in history, mobile Internet usage outnumbered desktop/laptop usage. That was in 2014. The other big switcheroo that hit in 2014 was that the number of people using mobile devices topped the number of people using traditional computers. It’s not hard to predict which way those squiggly little graph lines are likely to continue heading: mobile up, computers down. (Sorry, computers. You had your day in the sun.)
How to Prioritize for Mobile
The next question, then, is how should you optimize your site for mobile devices? There are a couple different schools of thought:
1. Design a site just for mobile devices (mobile-specific design)
2. Make sure that the site looks great regardless of what device you use (responsive design)
Both options have their pros and cons, and the use of one over the other really depends on the site itself. For some businesses, having a separate site made for mobile users makes sense, while others want the convenience of one site that does it all.
No matter how you get there, remember that the end result has to not only be mobile-user friendly, but also Google-friendly. While Mobilegeddon is far from the last algorithm update you’ll ever see from Google, you shouldn’t ignore the implications. If you haven’t paid a whole lot of attention to mobile web design and mobile marketing until now, it’s time to step up your game.