Almost half of the world’s population owns a smartphone. However, more than half of all website traffic comes from mobile searches, and more searches are now conducted on mobile devices than on desktop computers.
What this means for you is that optimization is more critical than ever. If you have poor mobile optimization, you may be missing out on half of your potential traffic. Mobile optimizing is essential for your SEO rankings, and that importance only keeps on growing as more and more millennials and generation Z kids start searching online and buying stuff.
If your site is not fully optimized for mobile devices, you can expect that to negatively impact your SEO rankings. Today, I will show you three ways poor optimization negatively affects your SEO rankings and why you need to optimize your site for mobile devices sooner rather than later.
Let us get started.
1. It Makes You Look Like An Amateur
Poor optimization negatively affects how people view your site. To put it bluntly, people will think of you as an amateur if your site is not fully optimized for mobile devices. A site that has content that is too wide for the screen looks poorly put together, as if not enough thought was put into it and as if the owners couldn’t be bothered to consider that most people are now browsing websites on mobile devices as opposed to desktop devices.
Even more than that, sites that are not optimized for mobile devices look outdated, and outdated sites are hard to trust. If the site looks outdated, it might seem sketchy, and visitors might think your information is obsolete or that the site has security issues. The way you present your site will affect how many leads you get.
Bottom line: A site not optimized for mobile devices doesn’t look professional. In fact, it looks amateur, and it negatively affects the way people perceive your brand. If you want to put forth a good brand image, you need to make your site look professional, and you need to make it work well on mobile devices. That means you have to remove pop-ups that negatively impact the mobile experience and fix other mobile optimization issues interfering with the user experience.
Why does this matter for your SEO? Because the more authoritative and professional your site looks, the more time people will spend on it. The more amateur and unprofessional it looks, the quicker people will leave your site. When a lot of people click on your site and quickly leave, your bounce rate (the rate of people “bouncing off” your site) will increase.
Time spent on page and bounce rate are two factors that Google’s algorithms use to determine how attractive your site is to visitors and how relevant it is to what they were searching for. If your bounce rate is high, your SEO rankings will likely suffer as a result. Google always takes user intent and behavior into account.
In addition, Google can tell if your site has mobile optimization issues, and it will hurt your site’s credibility with Google. Google wants to put authoritative sites at the top of the search results, not amateur sites. So, not only will your website appear amateur to visitors, but it will also appear amateur to Google, and you may lose rankings as a result.
2. It Makes You Harder to Find In Search Engines
Poor optimization also makes you harder to find in search engines. As I explained before, the majority of traffic coming to websites is coming from mobile devices. Google wants to ensure that their users have a good experience when browsing Google, so they will prioritize websites that are properly optimized for mobile devices.
There are a lot of things that go into good mobile optimization. Here are some things to consider when optimizing your site for mobile devices:
- Make sure you are using a responsive theme: A responsive theme will automatically adapt to the screen it is being viewed on, regardless of the screen’s size. It will ensure that content always stays within the screen and that the lines are not too long.
- Make navigation easy: Provide an easy navigational experience on mobile devices. This might mean using a separate menu for mobile devices, since some drop-down menus do not work well on mobile devices.
- Remove annoying pop-ups: You also need to make sure your pop-ups are optimized for mobile devices. Some pop-ups are difficult to close on mobile devices, making it impossible to view the website. If that happens, most visitors will leave quickly.
- Remove self-playing videos: Self-playing videos are not appropriate. People on mobile devices might be in a quiet place, or even at work or while using public transportation when browsing the web. They are not expecting a loud ad to suddenly start playing, so if that happens, they may quickly leave the page. The same goes for self-playing audio.
- Remove clutter: Too many images, ads, or calls to action are not good either.
- Create a simple site structure: A confusing site structure will confuse visitors and negatively impact your SEO.
- Speed up your site: Speed up your site so that users on mobile devices don’t have to wait a long time for your pages to load. Site speed is super important for SEO, and there are a number of ways to speed it up:
- Use a CDN like Cloudflare
- Use a caching plugin like WP Cache
- Compress your images by using a plugin like WP Smush
- Integrate your site with Google AMP for almost-instant loading times by installing the AMP plugin
- Host videos on Youtube and embed them on your pages instead of uploading them directly to your site
- Use light plugins and themes
If you are unsure of whether your site is optimized for mobile devices, I would recommend using Google’s Mobile Friendly Test Tool, which is free to use. It will show you the exact problems ruining your site’s user experience and give you advice on how to fix them. It’s a great way to discover lurking problems, including both simple issues and more technical issues.
3. It Gives More Obstacles Between You and Your Potential Customers
A site that is poorly optimized for mobile devices just makes it more difficult for you to reach your visitors and potential customers. You should be trying to break down barriers between you and your customers, not make it more difficult for them. However, a site that is difficult to use and navigate on mobile devices serves as an obstacle between you and your customers.
For example, if you have a blog and it is hard to read on mobile devices due to a pop-up blocking the screen or the paragraphs being too wide for the screen, customers won’t be able to read the information and news stories you post. If they can’t use the navigation menu on a mobile device, they will have a difficult time finding the products they are interested in. If the email subscription form is too long or buggy on mobile devices, they will not be able to sign up to your email list.
Since optimization affects SEO rankings as well, a site poorly optimized for mobile devices will make it harder for potential customers to find your site in the first place, which is another obstacle between you and them.
So, how can you reduce the number of barriers between you and potential customers rather than increase them? Here are some tips that might help:
- Speed up your site: Make your site easier to access by speeding it up. Use the tips I mentioned above, and integrate it with Google AMP.
- Make your site more secure: Install an SSL certificate, so your site gets a green lock icon in the browser bar on the Chrome mobile app. This will make your site look more trustworthy.
- Let people sign up via Facebook or Google: A great way to make your site easier to navigate, if you have a member’s area that requires people to sign up, is to allow people to quickly sign up and log in with their Facebook or Google accounts. This way, they won’t have to manually enter their email addresses, which can be a bit of a hassle.
- Reduce the number of fields on mobile forms: Sometimes, all the information you need is a customer’s name and email address. You don’t always need their phone number or home address. If you do need that, consider breaking up your form into a multi-form process, so filling out your form feels less tedious.
- Create a separate mobile version: Some landing page builders and pop-up builders let you create different versions just for mobile devices. You might rearrange the page or delete some elements to reduce the obstacles on mobile devices. Some features just don’t convert well on mobile and should be removed. Some buttons or images may also be unoptimized for mobile devices, so change or remove them.
Mobile optimization is vital. If you haven’t been paying enough attention to it, now is the time to do so. By optimizing your site for mobile devices, you will make your website look more trustworthy and professional, and less amateur. You will also make your site easier to find in the search engines and reduce the obstacles between you and your potential customers.