I wait in the car for my kids to come out of their theatre class. The heat is blowing full blast and my seat warmers give me a reprieve from the negative temperatures of our harsh Minnesota winter weather. I dare to take off my gloves--only to grab my phone. I check my email and Facebook, and then remember that I have been meaning to sign up my kids for summer swim lessons. I flip to Safari and search. Some websites I find are still desktop versions--I have to pinch and squeeze and zoom in. Others are clearly missing content--I can tell I've landed on a "mobile" site that is a stripped down version of their real website. I sigh. Frustrated, I flip back to Facebook.
This scenario is happening to moms everywhere. They are sitting in carpool lanes, thinking about YOUR services, and they are googling you. First of all, are they finding you? Are you ranking on page 1 when they search for what you do, in your town or city? Secondly, when they land on your website, is it a frustrating experience? Do you have 12 pictures all in a row that they have to scroll through? Can they click on your phone number or email address? Can they easily fill out a form--on their phone--to get more information?
As a busy mom of four kids, ages 9 to 16 (and I thought babies were busy! At least they napped. Now I'm constantly in the car, bringing my kids to one activity or another!) my phone is my lifeline. It's how I touch base with friends, order groceries, text my house cleaners, check on my staff, touch base with my husband, track my calendar, keep lists for buying gifts, and where I keep my to do list. I used to settle down on the couch for the evening with my laptop on my lap---but not so much any more. Almost everything I do as a mom is on my mobile phone.
When I flip to wearing my "business owner" hat, I can see that 70% of our website traffic for our music school is coming from mobile devices. So I know I'm not the only high-tech mom using my phone on-the-go.
Google is taking note.
In 2016, studies say that nearly 60% of searches were done on mobile phones. And the number just keeps climbing. More and more people are moving away from desktop computers and moving to tablets and mobile devices for their everyday use and for searching.
Because of this shift, Google is making a major change in 2017. Since the beginning, Google has been searching the desktop versions of websites to get their search engine results. In the past few years, they have also started crawling the mobile versions of sites as well. The new change is that Google is going to start to stop crawling the desktop versions of websites. This change will slowly roll out throughout the year. This is the biggest motivator to get a Responsive theme installed on your website ("responsive" means the layout changes for ANY device, large or small). We recently moved to responsive themes on our business' website and it wasn't too painful. The hardest part was just reading through every page and making sure that nothing was affected by changing the "theme" of the website. Yes, the "look" of our site changed, but it had to. Our site was looking dated and it is now easy to view on phones, iPads, etc.
Now here's the trouble. In the last few years, many businesses added a mobile version of their website, but didn't optimize it with the best organic SEO and they didn't include all the same content as the "full version" of their website. This is what Google is trying to make you change. No "full version" and "mobile version" is needed anymore. We need to have one website that is responsive across all sized devices. I'm sure you've noticed the crazy different sizes of phones and tablets that are out there--there is nothing "standard" anymore for phones or devices. We need to be ready for our readers (they are our clients and our prospects!) no matter what device they are using!
As Google starts crawling mobile versions, don't let your rankings drop because you don't have your full content on your mobile site. Check the following:
1. Do you have good organic SEO on your mobile version?
2. Is all the content the same on your mobile version as your desktop version?
3. Better yet--are you ready to change your website to a "responsive" theme so you don't have two versions but, rather, one website that is optimized for ALL devices?
If you're ready to make these changes on your website, so you don't have frustrated moms leaving your site without contacting you, just email us. Let's talk.
2017 is going to be an exciting year of growth! Don't get left behind.
Hi, I'm Jen Hickle!