February 26, 2015 Garyeoghan

2015: The Year Of Mobile (As Every Year Should Be)

It’s the year of mobile. No seriously it is. We blogged in 2013 about Mobile SEO saying it was an important factor. We blogged in 2014 about Local SEO having a larger reliance on mobile. And now here we are in February 2015 and it seems that every other day a news site will take that not so bold step in saying that this is the year of mobile. But maybe it always has been?

spacejamwebsite

The simple fact is that every year is the year of mobile; it is just that only now people are starting to get a gauge on the role it plays for organic reach and user experience.  Mobile sites are still in a stage where they can look more like the old Space Jam site than a fully functioning responsive site. We have had clients whose audience over time has become more and more mobile. We’re not talking a 5{262b22605905d7bdadc9d0423a4a46028d1c16e5c2069f052c9de36584b442a6} increase from one platform to another. We’re talking a flip in traffic from one source to another.

google mobile traffic

The picture above is a yearly comparison of traffic sources to a small site we look after. While it’s nice to see everything is up on this time last year, notice how the traffic for mobile and tablet is up (pardon our English here) ma-ja-hassively. Seems fantastic, right? Well traffic going up always is a good thing, but there is one very big drawback of a focus on mobile: time on site.

Timeonsite

Users on mobile don’t like staying around to read our blog as much as we’d hoped. But that doesn’t mean they’re not still getting all the info they need on their visit. Mobile users are still visiting the same number of pages per session as those on desktop. And it’s not as though our site isn’t optimised for mobile (it looks ridiculously nice on the old iPad). It’s just that mobile users tend to be quick and get from point A to B as fast as possible. This can be a very big positive for a certain type of site, ecommerce sites in particular.  For news sites and blogs, or anything that involves a user sitting and passively reading, it can be a struggle.

the independent facebook

This Facebook post from The Independent is the exemplary answer for some to this time on site problem. Imagine yourself standing in a newsagents and the headline said ‘WHAT HAPPENED WHEN THIS MAN DID THIS’. It would look a bit silly wouldn’t it? For sites like Buzzfeed and shockingly enough a lot of major news sources, this type of post (we’re not going to refer to it as the dreaded clickbait on this blog) is ideally suited for mobile users. It raises a question which in turn entices a user on site, has a video rich style post in the content and ends by giving the user pictures to look at in order to keep them on site and push up that time on site. It essentially doesn’t provide a user with a great experience; it simply distracts them in order to keep one’s thumb from swiping left.

bd site on mobile

So what should the average site do in 2015 to make sure their site is mobile friendly? Well it depends on the purpose. If you’re a content rich site, you have to make sure your text is easily readable and doesn’t force a user off site by placing a silly link like this towards the potential call to action. If you’re an eCommerce site, you’ll want to hammer home the idea that mobile users don’t like wasting time on site and get the user from the landing page to the checkout in as quick a time as possible.

topman email

I got this email from Topman the other day. I don’t usually buy stuff from their site, but I do like looking at new clothes. So, on my phone I did a quick test to see how many taps it would take me to get from this email to a basket. From choosing something, to picking a size and then being at the checkout it was five taps. And yes I’m saying taps on purpose. I could be someone walking down the street while getting that email or sitting on the sofa half paying attention to the TV. People don’t click on their phones and wait. They tap and want to know now. That’s why you need to run your site through a tool like PageSpeed Insights  or the Mobile Friendly test to see how fast it performs on different devices.

google mobile friendly

 

So is 2015 really the year of mobile? Well the answer is yes. And so will 2016, and 2017 be and up until the day come where people go ‘remember mobile phones?’ The best way to see if your site is really fit for mobile is to simply take ten minutes and play around with it on your phone. Get to know how users navigate the site, what the shortcomings are of trying to access pages on a phone and note any problems you encounter.

If you want to know more about getting your site in shape, whether on mobile or not, get in touch. Just use the contact box at the bottom of the page. You can even do it on mobile!

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