More than half of small businesses lack a mobile-friendly website
Australia’s small businesses could be missing out on traffic, leads and sales because their websites haven’t been optimised for mobile devices.
A recent survey revealed that only 45 per cent of small firms have a mobile-friendly site, despite the huge popularity of smartphones and tablets and their increasingly large share of the total browsing time.
Australia has one of the highest levels of mobile phone adoption in the world, with penetration at anywhere from 71 per cent to 90 per cent depending which survey you believe.
“Small businesses that make full use of the internet grow their businesses by over 20 per cent each year,” said Dinesh De Silva, CEO of Netstripes, the digital optimisation firm that commissioned the study.
“Additionally, more than 50 per cent of all searches are now done via smartphones and increasing, so if a business doesn’t have a website that is mobile friendly they are losing half of their potential customers.”
The survey also found that less than two thirds (62 per cent) of Australia’s small firms had a clear service offering on their website homepage. This means that even when they successfully attract visitors they are missing opportunities to convert them into customers.
How content marketing can help
A lot of website owners who have used Google’s free mobile-friendly test to make sure they get the green light for mobile search will have noticed that problems are often relatively easy to fix.
The results of the test can provide a straightforward action list for your developer and you can quickly earn a mobile-friendly tick, which is a lot easier than recovering from one of the other Google algorithm updates.
But once you’ve fixed the usability issues you should turn your attention to your content.
Creating, publishing and promoting content on topics that matter to your target audience is the best way to get more of the right people on to your site, regardless of the device they’re using.
When it comes to controlling what people think of your brand the content you create is an extremely useful tool. Getting your homepage messaging right, for example, which this survey highlighted, can be the difference between someone converting and bouncing off to one of your competitors.
Why mobile-friendly matters
Google, which enjoys a virtual monopoly over search in Australia, has thrown its significant weight behind mobile. Last year the company rolled out an important update to its search algorithm designed to favour mobile-friendly sites in mobile search results.
The incentive for Google is clear: if users have a poor experience when they click on a search result there is a danger that more of them will be tempted away to other content aggregation sites, such as Facebook.
Google warned ahead of the mobile-friendly update that the change would be more significant than Panda and Penguin, two ongoing campaigns targeting duplicate, low quality content and gaming tactics, such as buying links and keyword stuffing.
Some analysts referred to it as “mobilegeddon”, with one survey suggesting 40 per cent of websites could lose search rankings as a result.
As well as tweaking its search algorithm, Google also launched Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), which was designed to help website owners and content creators serve up mobile-friendly content.
AMP was seen as a response to Facebook’s Instant Articles, which took advantage of the control Facebook has over user-experience (at least when users stay on Facebook) to deliver consistent, quick and smooth content on mobiles and tablets.