How To Prepare Your Business For The Mobile Takeover

iphone5-1Do you have a strategy in place to market your business on mobile devices? In the past, business owners could skip this medium by focusing strictly on traditional online marketing efforts. With all of the recent momentum and gains seen in the mobile landscape, however, this is no longer a medium that business owners can afford to miss.

Marketing on mobile devices opens up a whole new medium for business owners to attract more customers and generate more sales. We live in an age where people are practically attached to their smartphone; they’ll use their device in bed, while riding on the bus, sitting on the couch, or walking down the street. Business owners can take advantage of this upwards trend by incorporating mobile as part of their overall marketing strategy.

Mobile Predictions: What’s Next?

For a prediction of what’s in store for the future of mobile usage, we must first look at last year’s gains. KPCB published a report on their website revealing that mobile (as of May 2013) accounted for 15% of internet traffic worldwide.

15% is certainly a sizable amount of traffic considering the scope of the internet, but a recent ComScore Webinar suggests mobile users will surpass desktop users in 2014. If this prediction is correct, we’ll see more internet users on mobile devices than desktop computers by the end of the year.

More email is read on mobile devices than desktops and there’s no signs of it slowing down. By 2017 it’s predicted that 78 percent of US email users will access email via mobile. To successfully reach the always connected customer, marketers will master mobile optimization in 2014,” said Brennan Carlson, Lyris Product and Strategy SVP.

Why Mobile Is Taking Over

There are several different factors which have contributed to the mobile market’s success, one of which being improved hardware. Smartphones today are no longer used strictly for sending and receiving calls; they are essentially miniature computers that are capable of performing many of the same tasks as a full desktop PC.

With modern-day smartphones now performing the same operations as desktop computers, some people believe the era of PCs is drawing to an end. Consumers can browse the internet, use social media, make dinner reservations, create documents, send email, and purchase goods and services without having to fire up their bulky desktop computer. Smartphones are more convenient and oftentimes faster than their counterpart.

Google Recommendations For Mobile-Friendly Websites

Google currently supports three configurations for mobile-friendly websites:

  1. Separate Mobile Site – redirect smartphone users to a different url that’s optimized specifically for smartphones and mobile devices.
  2. Dynamic Serving – uses the same URL but serves different HTML based on user-agent.
  3. Responsive Design (Recommended by Google) – uses HTML and CSS to create glitch-free designs and function across both desktop and mobile devices.

Google recommends webmasters follow the industry best practice of using responsive web design, namely serving the same HTML for all devices and using only CSS media queries to decide the rendering on each device. If responsive design is not the best option to serve your users, Google supports having your content being served using different HTML. The different HTML can be on the same URL or on different URLs, and Googlebot can handle both setups appropriately if you follow our recommendations.”

A responsive design is undeniably the best option when optimizing a website for mobile traffic. It allows users to serve the exact same HTML to all users on the same URL, regardless of which device they are using. This creates a smooth user experience while eliminating the chance of cross-compatibility bugs and errors. If a responsive website loads and functions on a desktop computer, you can rest assured knowing that it will perform the same on mobile devices.

Think Social

Another way business owners can leverage the power of mobile is to engage themselves on mobile-friendly social networking sites. Facebook remains the undisputed king of both desktop and mobile social traffic, but Instagram, Vine and Pinterest are three other hot social sites for mobile users.

Creating an account on these sites allows you to connect with a broader audience, more specifically mobile users. You shouldn’t give up on Twitter, Google+ or other social sites, but the three mentioned above are incredibly popular for mobile users

Know Your Mobile Rankings

Of course, business owners should constantly analyze their website’s search engine ranking on mobile devices. Google ranks websites differently according to users’ device. Your website might rank in the top 3 for its target keyword on a normal desktop computer, but this doesn’t necessarily mean it will have the same rank when a user searches for it on a mobile device.

The SEO landscape is changing, and business owners must analyze and optimize their site if they want to rank on mobile devices.