Recently, I attended a Google Partners event and heard a statistic that almost knocked me out of my chair: 45% of people would rather give up vacation than their smartphone. This stat is confirmation of what most of us already know—people really love their phones. You can see it when you venture out to any public place. Everyone is glued to their phones—and it’s not just teenagers.
In recognition of the importance smartphones and mobile devices play in our lives, earlier this year, Google began using mobile usability as a ranking factor in mobile search results as of April 21, 2015. The search engine predicted this change would have a significant impact on search results—giving mobile ranking priority to those sites that pass its mobile-friendly test.
Does your site pass the test or are you seeing something like this:
If your site isn’t mobile-friendly by Google’s standards, you can kiss your mobile SEO, and the leads and sales it generated, goodbye.
Does This Really Affect My Business?
Sadly, some remodelers are simply unaware of how much mobile website traffic they receive. I found this out while manning our booth at the 2014 Remodeling & Deck Expo in Baltimore, MD. I showed business owner after business owner how they could see, in their own Google Analytics account, that 25-35% of their website traffic is from visitors using mobile devices. Surprise turned to terror when I pulled out my iPhone and iPad and showed them what their website actually looks like on those devices!
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that just because your website looks great and functions properly from your laptop, it also looks good on a smartphone or tablet.
Based on my research, the odds are high that it doesn’t.
In 2014, my team at Blue Corona used our website analysis software to analyze nearly 3,000 remodeling contractor websites—including Remodeling Magazine’s top 550. Although we only reviewed the mobile usability factors for a small subset of sites, what we found was alarming. Most of the sites we reviewed had significant mobile-usability issues (i.e. they probably would not earn a mobile-friendly score using Google’s test).
So much for believing that your “web guy” is thinking about and handling all this stuff for you. As a web marketing guy, I can tell you that most of my competitors’ sites don’t pass Google’s test either. If you ask them, I’m guessing they’ll tell you a story about the cobbler’s kids’ shoes.
It’s Time to Get Serious About Mobile-Friendliness
Test your site. If it passes, awesome. If it doesn’t, you’ve got some work to do. Not only are you putting your search rankings at risk, you’re also irritating your prospective customers! Look at your company’s site on your phone, on your friend’s phone, on a tablet, etc. Ask yourself—is the text big enough without having to pinch or zoom? How easily can you find your phone number? Can you click to call it?
In my opinion (and this is also Google’s preferred method), a responsive website is the best way to make your remodeling company mobile-friendly. With a responsive website, you have one website (versus a desktop website AND a mobile website) that adjusts the way your website looks depending on the size of the device.
Here’s a visual example of how a responsively designed site functions:
The only drawback is that a responsive design generally requires a redesign and rebuild of your current site.
Even if your remodeling company has missed the April 21st deadline, Google says you can still benefit from the update once you launch your mobile-friendly website and the search engine re-crawls it. And if you choose the responsive option, most website design companies should be able to set you up with a temporary mobile solution while you’re waiting for your responsive redesign.
A couple things to prioritize with your mobile-friendly remodeler website:
- Quick page load speed
- Large, easy to read fonts
- Good text-to-background contrast
- Click-to-call numbers
- A mobile-friendly remodeling portfolio/gallery
What about you?
Do you have a mobile-friendly website? Are you utilizing responsive design to achieve it? Please share your comments or questions below!