By Brian Sutter, Director of Marketing, Wasp Barcode Technologies
Unless you’re Kimmy Schmidt, you probably heard some buzz (or as the case may be, panic) about Mobilegeddon over the past few weeks.
On April 21, Google launched its new algorithm update, designed to alter the ranking of its mobile search results to favor mobile-friendly sites and ultimately, to provide a better search experience for mobile users.
For most of us, the world has gone on turning. It might even seem as though Mobilegeddon was nothing to get excited about after all. Or was it?
New data from Searchmetrics, which regularly tracks how individual companies rank for a wide number of search terms, reveals that there are, in fact, some clear winners and losers in the new, mobile-friendly world. To assess the impact, Searchmetrics looked at which companies gained and lost the most visibility when it comes to mobile search results.
The dust is still settling. But for now, it looks like brands like GQ.com and WashingtonTimes.com have come out on top while sites like Reddit and NBCSports.com might have some Mobilegeddon damage control in their future.
Your company website might not have made Searchmetrics’ list, but that doesn’t mean you’ve escaped unscathed. If your website wasn’t deemed to be mobile-friendly on April 21, you can expect your search engine rankings, and ultimately your Web traffic, to take a hit until you fix the problems.
The good news is, you can use Mobilegeddon as a learning experience and emerge better armed to do business. To start, consider deploying one or more of these five quick fixes for your most offensive mobile mistakes, and put your brand back on the mobile-friendly path.
1. Be sure your mobile site works well with all devices.
Don’t forget — there’s more than one kind of mobile device out there. In fact, Gartner projects ultramobiles, which include tablets, hybrids, and clamshells, will take over as the main driver of growth in the devices market beyond 2014, with a growth rate of 54%. Make sure your mobile site looks as good on tablets of all sizes as it does on the traditional smart phone screen.
2. Make certain your CTA button is easy to find – and click.
Mobile users who find your business online have a conversion percentage nearly three times higher than the same search done on a desktop or laptop. In fact, 70% of mobile searches lead to online action within an hour. But to make this magic happen, users need a clear, easy-to-find, and easy-to-use call to action button.
With that in mind, pay a little extra attention to this element. Change the color to an attention-grabbing hue or add some subtle animation.
Also, tweak your button copy to better communicate your value proposition. Create motivating text that drives people to take action – and be specific. Adding just one word after the word “submit” can boost conversion rates by as much as 320%. So, instead of building a “submit” button, try a “submit now” button instead!
Finally, put some thought to placement. Position your signup form at the top of your landing page, alongside engaging content. This strategy will deliver maximum views to your form without requiring page visitors to scroll all the way down to the bottom.
And last but definitely not least, make sure your CTA and all other buttons are large enough to be easily tapped from a mobile device.
3. Don’t make your mobile site too text heavy.
On mobile, less truly is more. According to one study, 57% of users would not recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site. And unfortunately, the temptation to include too much content on a mobile site can result in a clunky design that is difficult to navigate and frustrating to use.
The amount of space available for content on a mobile device is often significantly smaller than the space available on a desktop browser. The screens are smaller, it’s harder to scroll, and it’s impossible on many devices to scroll horizontally.
With this in mind, make sure your most important content displays in the top few pixels of the page, and reduce your viewers’ need to scroll whenever possible.
4. Don’t forget to optimize your Web forms for mobile, too!
When you’re refining your website for Mobilegeddon, don’t forget about on-site resources like forms. These conversion-capture assets are a critical part of your online real estate, so make sure they are as mobile friendly as the rest of your site.
Form length is especially critical when optimizing for mobile. If your site contains a field-heavy form that just can’t be shortened, try building a smart form that automatically shows or hides questions based on how users respond. Or, consider using a horizontal layout for checkboxes and buttons to create an illusion the form is shorter.
5. Deploy social autofill features to save your users’ time.
Many of us struggle to remember the slew of logins and passwords required to function in 2015. Social autofill has unparalleled potential to improve the consumer experience. Not only does it reduce your customers’ time on site – it’s a sanity saver, too: 64% of users who frequently leave sites due to forgotten login information say social login is an option companies should offer.
But the best reason to leverage social autofill? Conversion rates can increase up to 189% when form users take advantage of Social Autofill features.
As Mobilegeddon becomes just a speck on the horizon in your rear-view mirror, it may seem like the whole thing was much ado about nothing. But whether you made Google’s nice list or you have a laundry list of changes to apply, remember this: By implementing even one of these strategies, your efforts will pay off. Mobile-optimized redesign results in a nearly 15% increase in unique clicks.
Brain Sutter serves as Wasp Barcode Technologies’ director of marketing, where he sets the strategic direction and oversees the tactical execution of the company’s marketing programs.