Why SMBs Should Invest in a Mobile Responsive Website

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    The Impact of Mobility on the Enterprise

    By now, most small to midsize businesses (SMBs) have heard the buzz about the importance of having a mobile presence. It seems most everyone these days is searching for information from a smartphone, tablet or phablet. And if they are searching for what you’re selling—or better yet, your business—not having that information readily available for viewing on a mobile device may lose you a sale or many sales.

    Yes, it may be okay for awhile to have your business page on Facebook, Twitter and other social media as your “mobile presence.” But when mobile customers are searching on Google, they want to find information on the top of the search list and in a mobile-friendly format. That means they expect to reach a site that automatically fits to their screen, doesn’t require them to zoom in or out to see the page data, and doesn’t rely on Flash— which isn’t really used on most smartphones or tablets.

    According to SearchEngineWatch, Jay Taylor, managing director at Leverage Digital, says that many SMBs don’t feel the need to budget for that type of website upgrade:

    “A lot of SMBs are resistant to upgrading their website to be responsive. They’ll all tell you that SEO is a priority, and they want to rank high in the search results, but they’re often not willing to take that next step. Responsive websites can be fairly expensive and take a bit of time to build out, but it’s not really an option anymore. In order to be competitive in Google, companies are going to have to have mobile-friendly websites.”

    Back in April, one other big motivating factor was set into motion: Google’s latest mobile ranking update, also known as “Mobilegeddon.” The basic takeaway from the announcement was that websites that have been optimized for mobile devices will be prioritized in search results. If your website hasn’t been updated to be mobile responsive, most likely your ranking in Google’s search results will go down, resulting in less traffic to your site—potentially a lot less.

    It’s now almost June and Koozai, a digital marketing agency, released results of its first look into the effects of Mobilegeddon on SMBs. It’s not pretty. Of the surveyed businesses, 41 percent saw “a drop in rankings of at least three places,” with some reporting drops as significant as 50 percent. Even scarier, 27 percent reported that their websites saw drops even after they had been “actually optimized for mobile.” Koozai CEO Ben Norman attributed those ranking drops to the likelihood that competitors were just better optimized in other ranking factors.

    Of course, some SMBs may take this news and say, “Well, why bother upgrading if it may not help?” The answer is that mobile optimization doesn’t necessarily mean your site is mobile responsive. And it seems that Google’s algorithms now prefer those sites that are truly mobile responsive, among the other ranking factors, which include more than 200 points. To be sure your site shows up high in the Google Search Results, make sure it is responsive and meets most of the other important factors.

    If you aren’t sure about your website’s performance, it’s time to have a discussion with your web designer and/or webmaster. You may have to spend a little money and wait a little longer for any updates that are required, but in the SEO race, it will be worth it to rank on the top of that list.

    Kim Mays has been editing and writing about IT since 1999. She currently tackles the topics of small to midsize business technology and introducing new tools for IT. Follow Kim on Google+ or Twitter.

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