Is going mobile necessary for local businesses?

hussongmobilefriendlyserp

Dr. Ryan Hussong’s search engine listing for his Polk City, Iowa, dental office indicates that the website is mobile-friendly.

We know we’ve been focusing on the importance of having a responsive, mobile-friendly website a lot lately. But there’s a reason: it’s our job to make sure that our clients’ web presences comply with the most up-to-date SEO industry standards, and that means having a mobile-friendly website.

Here are a few of our recent blog posts on the topic:

What we haven’t discussed yet, however, is how mobile usage trends impact local businesses. Is “going mobile” necessary for a local business?

Yes.

Mobile usage is growing

According to Search Engine Land, “U.S. smartphone penetration is now at 75% as of December 2014, up from 65.2% in December 2013, meaning that traffic from mobile is likely to be increasing as well. In fact, in late 2014, mobile traffic surpassed desktop traffic for the first time.

Mobile device owners aren’t just using their devices for fun, either — according to a report from Nielsen, 87% of smartphone and tablet owners report using their mobile devices for shopping activities. And Shopify reported 50.3% of traffic to its e-commerce platform was from mobile devices with the other 49.7% from desktop in August 2014.

Furthermore, research from Google drives home just how important mobile is to local businesses:

‘Appearing on smartphones is critical for local businesses. 94% of smartphone users look for local information on their phone and 84% take action as a result, such as making a purchase or contacting the business.'”

A Google mobile algorithm is possible

As we’ve said before, all signs — including Google issuing notices to webmasters if their sites were not mobile friendly — point to a potential Google mobile algorithm. Additionally, Google is now displaying mobile-friendly labels on mobile search results for sites that are mobile friendly (as seen in the screenshot above).

It’s important to note that these mobile-friendly indicators usually appear pretty quickly once a site becomes responsive. We know this because Dr. Allen of Allen Family Dentistry in Pella, Iowa, just had his newly rebuilt responsive website launch on February 12, and the mobile-friendly indicator was on his search result in a search this morning.

So, why are we discussing the mobile-friendly issue again here on MDPM Consulting’s blog? Well, the answer is simple: your dental practice is a local business. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, it could impact your overall performance and hurt your business, so it’s important to know where you stand.

If you’re unsure, take a look at some of your competitors’ SERP listings. Do they have the mobile-friendly indicator? If not, it’s time to update your website to gain a competitive edge. If they’re boasting a responsive website, you need to update your site as soon as possible to remain competitive. If you don’t, it’s likely you’ll see a lower click-through rate from mobile device users as customers opt to use sites that display pleasantly and function properly on their phones and tablets.

Although Google hasn’t explicitly stated that there’s a mobile algorithm update on the horizon, the signs point in that direction. We can assume something big is in the works behind the scenes, partially because Google Webmaster Tools haven’t updated in a week. Mobile traffic is definitely growing, and Google — as always — is trying to ensure it delivers the best user experience possible by recognizing mobile-friendly sites in its mobile search results and alerting webmasters of mobile issues. How does your website measure up?

Ready to convert your non-responsive site to responsive? Want to make sure your mobile-friendly site is really up to industry standards? Have questions about this possible Google update and want to know more? Give Jill a call at (972) 781-8861 or shoot us an email at [email protected].