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Businesses beware – Starting in April, mobile-friendliness to be used as an SEO ranking signal!

author image Written by: Content Team           Categories - SEO Tips

mobile friendly apps You probably already know that having a mobile-friendly website can increase user experience, but did you know that it can also help improve your SEO ranking? Now more than ever, customers are accessing websites on their mobile devices. Internet usage on mobile devices even exceeded PC usage in 2014, so it only makes sense to accommodate this growing group of users. Google happens to agree. The company made an announcement stating “starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality results that are optimized for their devices.” What does this change mean for your business? It means that if you want to be ranked highly on Google, you can no longer afford to have a website that isn’t mobile-friendly. Making it easier for your site’s visitors to get relevant results, optimized for their device should be a top priority, and mobile-friendliness can no longer be ignored for your website’s SEO. If your site isn’t configured for smartphone or tablet use, or if you don’t have a mobile-friendly option for consumers, you may see a drop in your SEO ranking. According to Google, a website must include the following features to be classified as “mobile-friendly” by Googlebot:

  1. It avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
  2. Uses text that is readable without zooming
  3. Sizes content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
  4. Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped

Google acknowledges three different types of mobile websites: responsive web design, dynamic serving, and web URLs. Each of these is different, but they all strive to improve the user experience for mobile visitors. Responsive web design displays the same HTML code no matter the browser or device, but displays the content optimally based on the device screen size. Dynamic serving websites will show a different version of the site, with different HTML based on what the server knows about the user’s browser, but will keep the same URL structure. Finally, having separate URLs means having one for mobile and one for desktop browsers. This method detects when a user visits from a mobile device and will direct that user to the mobile-specific website. Having any of these types of mobile website will ensure that your SEO is not negatively impacted. While this update to the search algorithm doesn’t take effect until April 21, Google has already starting indicating whether a site is mobile-friendly or not, which could be impacting your mobile click-through rate and overall SEO. Websites without a good mobile experience will not only experience a drop in their SEO ranking, but they will soon find themselves losing out to competitors. The bottom line? If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re missing out on some serious SEO opportunities; Google is looking out for mobile users, and your company should be too. Going forward, we should all be thinking about mobile first as a way to better reach our target audiences and improve our SEO ranking.

Content Team

Mobile-Friendly Websites are Necessary for Digital Marketing. Period.

12/27/2017

Why Mobile-Friendly Websites are Important for Digital Marketing and the Overall Success of Your Business

Whose reading this on their phone? We may sound like a broken record here, but this message is too important to ignore: If your website is not mobile-friendly, make the switch today! The fact is, the majority of visitors to your website are using their mobile devices. Because of this, it’s crucial to optimize your website to look and function well on a phone or tablet to give your users the best experience possible. Contact a local digital marketing agency for help with making the switch to a mobile-friendly website. Not sure if your website is already mobile-friendly? Visit your website from a mobile device, or type in your web address with this handy test from Google. If your website fails the test, you have some work to do, and you shouldn’t leave it until next month or next year. Mobile is here to stay and it’s only going to become more prominent. Here’s why you need a mobile-friendly site for successful digital marketing.

Easy on the Eyes

The desktop version of a website squished into a mobile screen is not only hard to read because the font is tiny, but it’s especially hard to navigate which is incredibly frustrating to users. The constant swiping, scrolling, and zooming in to read a page will leave most users frustrated and ready to move on to another option—i.e. one of your competitor’s mobile-friendly sites. By opting for a mobile-friendly site design, your content will be easy to read, navigate, and less likely to annoy and lose potential customers.

Better Google Rankings

Google approves.
Since most users these days perform online searches via their mobile devices, Google now ranks websites based on their mobile-friendliness. So, if your site is mobile-friendly, then you feel relaxed knowing that you have better rankings. However, if you’ve been avoiding or putting off a mobile switch, then your Google rankings are going to hurt in the long run. Without Google rankings, your website won’t appear in search, and potential customers will visit other websites, convert, boost sales, and improve business for your competitors who already switched to mobile-friendly designs.

Your Mobile-Friendly Options

Mobile-friendly designs fit into three categories, from good to great in terms of user experience. And since Google prioritizes user experience when it comes to rankings, you should too.

Scroll, scroll, scroll…

1. Mobile-Friendly Websites

These websites look and function on both desktop and mobile screens. The content may appear smaller on mobile, but there are still mobile-friendly features to satisfy users, such as:

  • Faster site loading on mobile network connections thanks to smaller image sizes;
  • Images and slideshows that don’t use Adobe Flash; and,
  • Links that make it easy for users to call, e-mail, or get directions to a business via their mobile devices.

2. Mobile-Optimized Websites

For a more advanced mobile-friendly option, consider the perks of mobile-optimized design. These websites will reformat for mobile devices to drastically improve the user experience. This design includes less graphics, less need for typing, and large buttons for easy navigation and engagement. Furthermore, mobile-optimized websites will help speed up the decision-making process for potential customers.

The best website, is a responsive website.

3. Responsive-Design Websites

Just as it sounds, responsive design responds to the device—it will adjust, reformat, and optimize the website content based on the screen size. This flexible option is the crème de la crème of mobile-friendly development that is sure to wow both users and Google. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, or you’d like to upgrade from good to great in terms of your website design, start the process today to make a change. With the help of a web developer you will improve your digital marketing success by taking your web presence to a whole new level—from non-existent to appearing at the top of search engine results pages. A digital marketing agency can help you make the switch to mobile-friendly website design, putting user experience first, and ultimately putting your business out there for the whole world to see—or at least your target audience (who’s probably using mobile).

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The Need For (Digital) Speed

07/07/2017

How and Why You Should Speed Up Your Website with The Help Of A Website Marketing Company

No one likes waiting for a slow website to load. Most users won’t wait for a slow website to load, and will instead find what they’re looking for elsewhere. Meanwhile, that poor, slow website will have lost another potential customer. To maintain user satisfaction, increase conversion rates, and rank well on Google Search, your website needs to be fast. If your website is lagging behind, go over these tips and consult with a website marketing company to get things back up to speed!

Simplify Your Website Design

Most of a web page’s loading time is spent downloading the various components on a page, making HTTP requests for each component—i.e. images, Flash, scripts, and stylesheets. By reducing the number of components on your page, you reduce the number of HTTP requests, speeding up your loading time. This can be done by:

  • Reducing and streamlining the components on a page;
  • Using CSS (cascading style sheets, which control the layout of HTML elements on a page) instead of images;
  • Combining stylesheets into one; and
  • Reducing scripts and putting them at the bottom of the page.

Site speed is important when it comes to responsiveness and rankings.
Sometimes, you gotta go fast.

Speed Up Server Response Time

You should aim for a server response time of less than 200ms (milliseconds). Use programs like Google’s PageSpeed Tools to monitor your website’s performance and get suggestions for making improvements.

Compress (Zip) Files

Since large pages take longer to download, you can speed up the download time by compressing your page with a data compression program. Data compression reduces the page’s bandwidth and HTTP response, which significantly reduces download times.

Enable Caching

When users first visit your website, their browsers download the site’s components. And if you enable browser caching, these components will be stored in the user’s cache, so if they revisit your website, they won’t have to download all the components again, resulting in shorter loading times. You can set the cache resources to expire in a week and up to a year.

Minify Code

Long, messy code will increase your page’s size and loading time. To simplify—or minify—code, get rid of extra spaces, indentations, and line breaks.

Speed Up Image Loading Time

To reduce the time it takes to load images, edit the images to reduce their size. This can be done with cropping to the correct page size, removing comments, and reducing colour depth. Also try to use only JPEG images and include a valid URL with the src attribute.

We can all relate to this monkey’s frustration at an unresponsive site.

Use Only One External CSS

Using only one external CSS will avoid code duplications, reduce the size of your code, and reduce HTTP requests. For cleaner coding, do not include CSS in HTML code.

Speed Up Above-The-Fold Loading Time

The above-the-fold (top of the page) can load faster—improving user experience—by splitting a CSS into two parts: a short inline that styles above-the-fold elements and a deferred external part.

Remove Unnecessary Plugins

Plugins can slow down your site and cause crashes and security issues. Delete any unnecessary plugins and identify those that slow down your site by disabling selected plugins and measuring your website’s performance.

Reduce Redirects

Redirects slow down a site by creating HTTP requests. Responsive websites have redirects to direct mobile users to the responsive version of a site. To reduce the loading time for responsive redirects, use an HTTP redirect to send mobile users directly to the mobile URL instead. For Google to discover your mobile pages, identify the mobile URL in the desktop pages by including the <link rel=”alternate”> markup. If any—or all—of this sounds like too much work, a website marketing company can do the nitty-gritty work for you. By improving your website’s speed and performance, you can improve user experience, conversion rates, and your Google ranking. In the case of page loading time, faster is always better.

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