Since 2015, online searches on mobile devices have surpassed those on desktops. More and more webmasters are now keen to jump onto the mobile website bandwagon and ensure their websites list high when people search on mobiles. They choose one of three options to optimise their websites for mobile searches.
So what are these options, you ask? Well, lucky you !
In this post, we look at each of these. But please remember, this is a brief overview. We are not deep diving into the various nuances and intricacies associated with each.
Also, each of these options has a different approach and not equally effective in delivering the results you might seek. So, in case you want more details on what you ought to do, please give us a call or send an email. You may also talk to your developer and hear what they say.
Ready? Let’s go.
Option No. 1 – Use a Responsive Layout for Your (Desktop) Website
One of the easiest ways to rank for mobile searches is to have a mobile-friendly layout of your existing (desktop) website. Also known as responsive layout or format, this ensures that the site’s user interface (UI) automatically adjusts to the screen size of the device used to access it. A competent SEO services firm will also vouch for this option as an easy-to-manage long-term solution. We sure do, because it is perhaps the least expensive option.
Option No. 2 – Set Up a Separate Mobile Website
The second option is to have a mobile version of the website along with the desktop version. So if your website is, say, “www.xyz.com”, then the mobile website is usually accessible from the URL “www.m.xyz.com”. Both websites need to be hosted separately. A webmaster can set up redirects so that the customer is sent to the desktop or mobile website based on the device they use to access the website. This is more expensive than maintaining a responsive layout, so if you are a small business or a start-up, avoid it for your corporate website. E-commerce companies, however, need to think of this option really really hard.
Option No. 3 – Set Up a Mobile-Only Website
This is the least exercised option right now but the number of takers might rise as mobile search continues to grow in the future. For a mobile-only website, your layout will be perfect for mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. It will be optimised for desktop users as well, with a responsive design, so that they can access the website too. Some companies with a mobile-centric customer base can try this option out, especially if they also have an app for those customers preferring to be in app-y mode.
A quality-focussed internet marketing services provider will be able to tell you that you do not have to go mobile-only to be prepared for the upcoming mobile-first search algorithms. For the moment and the foreseeable future, it is better to opt for a responsive layout for your website. If you already have a website, a responsive layout makes the content look great on all kinds of devices and is easy to implement. There are some caveats to this – a common problem being that fonts and layouts don’t scale well. However, good coding can address those issues with no second thought.
Mobile-friendly or Mobile-ready?
Now that we have the three options out of the way, let’s look at the differences between a mobile-friendly and a mobile-ready website. Hopefully, by the end of it, you will know which side to tread on.
Mobile-Friendly: A mobile-friendly website can be any website that has a responsive layout. The content adjusts to the screen size of the device used to access the website whether it is a desktop, tablet, or smartphone. This is no different from a responsive desktop website in any way.
Mobile-Ready: A mobile-ready website is built with the mobile user in mind. It may or may not be a desktop website but the content is optimised for mobile users in addition to the design and layout of the website. So, options 2 and 3 above can be said to be mobile-ready.
Webmasters that understand the distinction between search results for mobile and desktop searches optimise the content for both platforms. It is crucial to do this to ensure long-term success for any SEO strategy.
There are other ways to go about the SEO process. One could, for instance, publish and overuse content and use a brute-force approach to SEO. It can pay off but this is a woefully slow process. Instead, smart SEO experts research relevant keywords that rule the mobile searches in their niche and create high-quality content around it. The same strategy works to maintain or improve desktop search rankings as well. In short, a mobile-ready website has a layout, design, navigation and content for mobile as well as desktop users.
CFOs and digital marketers should also pay heed to other approaches to raise traffic on various platforms. For instance, once a mobile-ready website is live, you can hire a PPC marketing services company to increase your reach. But remember to get your website optimised for search engines first and then go with ad campaigns. Or your traffic will go down as soon as the campaign winds up.