written by Peter Fuller

Your mobile is where it’s at

Two historic products were launched in 2007 – Kevin 07 and the iPhone. I know it’s hard to believe something as essential to life has only been around for ten years (the iPhone not Kevin Rudd).

But remember how far we’ve come.

Pre-iPhone we thought we were pretty cool taking and making calls and clumsily texting on our alpha-numeric Nokia flip-phones (you can buy one on E-Bay for $35 if you’re nostalgic).

Tomorrow morning more than 7 million Australians will check their phone within five minutes of waking (after accessing it by their fingerprint). During the day half of Australia will watch a TV show or video stream or listen to a podcast on their phone. In the next 24 hours the world’s iPhones, Samsung Galaxies, Google Pixels and Huaweis will receive 560 million approving glances from us…more than we give our partner. And during the next year more than 150 billion mobile apps will be downloaded.

With 88% of Australians owning a SmartPhone it is no surprise that more than 60% of our website searches happen on one of these devices.

How do you search for clothes and shoes? Cheap flights and financial advice? What the weather will be tomorrow or who won the footy last night? Which Italian restaurant has the best orecchiette…and how the hell do you get there?

Your 10 kg desktop computer is frankly as useful as your 2006 Nokia, when you want to order an Uber (ride or meal), download music from iTunes or know the latest fashion tip from Meghan Markle… NOW.

Google understands the trend to mobile phones better than anyone and this month it will be rolling out a far-reaching switch that has been on the cards for over 12 months. Google’s new “mobile-first” plan will engineer the search engine’s indexing function to primarily read mobile sites – and will only read desktop websites if your mobile site is not functional.

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What does this mean? Say you are running a gym and you want people to find your special introductory offer, your family friendly hours and no-lock in contracts. You’re hoping someone who wants to get fit will type in “gym membership”. But if your website has been built (or optimised) for a desktop not a mobile platform, from now on Google will stop reading your website. This means it won’t turn up in Search results and your Organic traffic will very quickly drop for both mobile and desktops.

Even worse, Google will read the cool gym down the road that has a mobile optimised website, that scales seamlessly to a SmartPhone screen and doesn’t require five year old fingertips to scroll through it.

That should be reason enough to update your website to a mobile optimised platform right now, but there is an even more pressing argument – 78% of customers say they discovered a business that they hadn’t previously come across by using mobile search rather than desktop search. Has that ever happened to you before?

So, what should you do?

First work out whether you have a problem, by visiting the Google mobile friendly test site.

If the diagnosis is bad (your site is only viewable by 40% of the population who use desktops) then commission a competent web developer to update your old website to a mobile-optimised version.

They should be able to advise on whether you need separate mobile URLs, how to make all of your important content easily searchable on your mobile site, how to initiate dynamic serving and ensure your metadata is present on both sites, how to remove hover states and pop-ups and many other impressive technical tricks that we mere marketing managers and CEOs know nothing about.

What should happen on delivery of your new mobile optimised website? Faster download speeds. Happier existing clients. Lots of potential new customers, many of who didn’t even know you existed.

And another million adoring glances at your iPhone.

Concerned? Talk to Paul Kitching at FULLER about your website.

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