Think for just a moment about how you search.
Let’s say you’re out running errands all over town and you decide you’re in the mood for a particular kind of food. Thanks to modern technology, you no longer have to drive around aimlessly hoping for the best. Instead, you pull out your smartphone, punch a button, and ask something like “Thai food near me,” inserting whatever you are in the mood for into the equation. Results pop into place.
Most of us also take that to another level. As the search results begin to fall into place, we take the step of looking at the online reviews.
- 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as they do a personal recommendation
- 90 percent of all consumers will read less than ten reviews before forming an opinion
- 73 percent of consumers think that reviews older than three months are no longer relevant
- 58 percent of consumers say that the star rating of a business is important
And it’s not just restaurants, and things you’re looking for when you’re driving around are being searched from a mobile device. Because our phones are always with us, we use it for just about everything we search for. And it’s becoming more prevalent every day.
- 69.9 percent of consumers read reviews at the beginning of and during the search phase, when they start gathering information and are making lists of options
- 63 percent of consumers trust businesses with overall ratings of 4.0 to 4.5 stars out of 5, while only 2.5 percent trust businesses with overall ratings of 2.0 stars or less
Still think reviews don’t matter?
How does your business stack up?
In years past, you may have dove into all kinds of marketing strategies to bring more business into your doors. You may even have a website marketing strategy, one that included adding in relevant search terms, or using keywords to help with your ranking.
But what about your mobile search ranking? Because there is a difference between what you do with your website for desktop or laptop search results, and what you do to incorporate mobile into the dynamics.
By late 2016, Google recognized that more than half of all Google searches were conducted from mobile devices. That number isn’t going to decrease anytime soon. So the company announced in 2017 that it would prioritize mobile sites over desktop to determine relevance and ranking.
Simply put, your mobile strategy can no longer be separate from your overall web strategy. They have to be one and the same. If you haven’t had time to optimize it, there’s a good possibility your current mobile search ranking is failing. That also means it’s dropped for desktop searches too.
The good news is there are ways to fix it.
Slow Page Loads
One second. Two seconds. Three seconds.
How long do you think a person will sit and wait while your page tries to load? According to surveys, the average load time of the top websites is 1.17 seconds. By the time you hit the three-second mark or higher, you are no longer relevant. Mobile users by nature are on the go. Yep, our attention spans are next to nothing these days. Seconds can be the difference between finding a customer and having them disappear forever.
There are tools that can analyze websites to determine if they are speedy enough to rank highly. It can tell where the holdups are and help you determine areas to fix. You can identify images that need to be compressed, as well as any coding that may be slowing your website down.
No Local Optimization
In most cases, you search for where you are. Again, if you’re hungry for Thai food, you want results that are close by. It works if you’re out running errands five miles from home, or if you’re one thousand miles away on a business trip.
Google is our “best friend” who will give us the results we need now, right wherever we are.
That is why it’s so important to ensure you are a part of the results of local search. You may have “Thai” all over your websites, but do you mention your location frequently too? Better yet, have you registered your business with Google, entering your address, contact information, website, business category, and hours? Google My Business ensures the data is there whenever your prospects have the desire to find what you do.
When people click for your website, they want to see what they came for. That means anything that prevents it will be a strike against you. If you obscure it behind an overlay (something they have to click through before getting what they came for), you risk destroying the user experience.
It’s annoying on a desktop. It’s suicide on mobile.
We’ve been taught as online marketers that pop-ups are essential to connect with your viewers and try and collect names and email addresses for further connection. We advertise discounts or special offers in hopes they will leave their information. It makes sense to us marketers, and that’s why we’re so reluctant to let them go.
Our advice: let them go. Use these annoyances, and your rankings will take a hit. Your goal is to dominate the search results, to be there ready and waiting for everyone that searches for you, not hinder the process in any way.
Oh, and by all means continue asking for information. Just do it in a proper way.
Having a responsive design means your website sends the same code to all devices, no matter what device it is. This ensures your website looks its best no matter what device a potential customer chooses to view it with. It’s optimized for whatever screen it happens to be displayed on.
When you implement responsive design, you are ensuring you can avoid hassles with redirects and trying to get the proper code to the proper place in a timely manner. You avoid the hassle of having to “think” before it delivers. Cleaner code also means Google’s algorithms can place your results in much higher fashion. Google itself has this to say:
For responsive web design pages, a single Googlebot user agent only needs to crawl your page once, rather than crawling multiple times with different Googlebot user agents to retrieve all versions of the content. This improvement in crawling efficiency can indirectly help Google index more of your site’s content and keep it appropriately fresh.
It’s hard to argue with that.
So where does your website stand when it comes to mobile search rankings? Is your business on the cutting edge or do you need some help?