Mobile optimisation made mandatory

Standing on a busy train platform recently it was clear that we commuters all had something in common. With our heads bowed and our gaze firmly directed to our palms, our spare moments are dominated by our smartphones.

This isn’t news though. Especially here in Australia where recently-released research shows us with the sixth-highest smartphone penetration in the world, ahead of the UK (9th) and the United States (13th). Smartphones have become an indispensable part of our daily lives, with 65% of us using them to access the Internet every day and most never leaving home without them.

However, Google has announced that it will penalise websites that aren’t optimised for mobile browsing. This essentially means that failure to build mobile-friendly functionality into your website will cause a drop in search engine ranking. Losing rank will reduce your site’s visibility, leading in turn to a drop in profitability.

Google highlighted a range of common examples that will see websites losing rankings including faulty redirects, slow site loads and smartphone-only errors.

The reason behind this move is that anything that is considered to ‘ruin’ the user’s online experience is less desirable for Google to display as a relevant search. This direction is likely to raise the bar for mobile websites all round, ensuring we stop landing on stripped-down home pages and start using ‘thumb-friendly’ sites.

Having a mobile-optimised site is critical and a cross-channel strategy is needed to engage consumers across the multiple paths to purchase. Businesses that make mobile a central part of their strategy will benefit from the opportunity to engage the constantly connected consumer.