Have you ever searched for a website on your phone and had to zoom in to the point where you could barely read a full sentence just to click on a link? Because people want more faster, websites like this are a thing of the past. Websites today need to be optimized for mobile. If you are still asking:
- What is a mobile optimized site?
- Why do I need a mobile-friendly site?
…you’re asking the wrong questions. As a business owner, you need to ask yourself:
Is your site setup for mobile?
Traffic patterns are evolving. Desktop searches are trending down while mobile searches are trending up. Google reported that smartphone penetration in the
U.S. is now over 75% and has been increasing at approximately 10% per year. It is expected that by the end of this year, global smartphone use will reach 2 billion. In the past year, smartphone online searches have increased 17% and tablet online searches have increased 28%. As these traffic patterns continue to shift toward mobile search it is important that your traffic remains unaffected. Today, more people are searching from mobile devices while fewer are using desktop computers.
Is this a phase?
As you may remember, last April, Google released a Google mobile friendly update ominously broadcasted as Mobilegeddon. The announcement was as threatening as an asteroid hitting the Earth for those unsure of how it would affect traffic to their sites. Google had stated that they would use mobile friendliness as a ranking signal in the search results, rewarding websites that are fully optimized for mobile platforms.
At that same time, Google completely changed their mobile search results page to make it extremely difficult to find organic results. What we didn’t know is how much weight mobile-friendliness would hold and how much our traffic could change. Google’s threat had the intended results. Websites began following Google’s direction and moving a to a fully responsive website platform. These platforms provide the same experience on your website for desktop and mobile users without the traditional limitations of a small screen. Zooming and scrolling are no longer necessary with responsive websites which are better optimized for the user.
This was last year, why does it still matter?
Mobilegeddon did not mark the last battle between the bad desktop searches and the good mobile searches but rather the last battle between bad, dated, non-mobile friendly websites with the good fully-responsive websites. We can’t dictate how your clients search for you. Google wasn’t saying desktop searches are bad and mobile searches are good but rather sites that don’t accommodate both are bad and those that do are good.
Google’s constant focus on the user dictated this change. Mobilegeddon did not mark the last or final battle as its name implies. Instead, this battle is seen every time there are two results with the same optimization in their site arsenal but one is shown above the other because one is mobile-friendly and one isn’t.
As the online competitive landscape becomes more saturated with results and it becomes increasingly harder to rank at the top, Mobilegeddon should be seen as marking of the beginning of the end of sites that are not fully responsive. If your site isn’t fully responsive, it will be even more challenging to show up on the search results. For this reason, focusing your website marketing efforts on mobile search is critical.
Starting in May, Google is increasing the effects of what sounds like a slow but steady roll out of an update to their mobile-friendly algorithm that launched during Mobilegeddon. This update will increase the effect of ranking signals specifically. Those sites that are not mobile-friendly should take this as another warning so that they can avoid any impact in their appearance on Google.
Are people really using their mobile devices to search for attorneys?
Comscore reported in 2015 US Digital Future in Focus, mobile search now accounts for 29% of all search activity. That said, the conversion rate is extremely high on mobile; 70% of mobile searches lead to action on websites within one hour. Actions could be a call, an email, a chat, or a copy and paste of your address to find out travel distance.
If you think this affects businesses at large but not law firms, it’s important to note that mobile searches now make up nearly half of all searches for attorneys online. Lawyermarketing.com found that 44% of people who search online for an attorney use a mobile device.
- Why should I worry about mobile search when my firm’s website gets plenty of desktop traffic?
More people are searching from mobile devices while fewer are using desktop computers.
- Why do I have to focus on mobile customers even though the Google Mobile Friendly Update, Mobilegeddon, was this time last year?
Because this has just begun. Global smartphone use will reach 2 billion in 2016 and with 44% of people who search online for an attorney using a mobile device you could miss out on attracting a lot of potential clients.
- How does having a responsive website affect my placement in the Google search results?
Google uses mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal in the search results, rewarding websites that are fully optimized for mobile platforms. The new Google mobile interface makes it hard to find organic results.
Martindale-Hubbell has seen an average increase of 30% in mobile visits per month for those sites that have been made responsive. Now, more than ever before, your law firm’s website needs to be optimized for mobile so that it can be found through mobile online searches and so that you can be contacted by prospective clients who use cell phones or tablets. If your law firm needs help with a responsive design, consider our Website Series products.