Why Every Retailer Should Have a Mobile Friendly Website

Posted by Vikash Rathee on Mon, 16 Mar 2015 11:02:13 GMT

Why Every Retailer Should Have a Mobile Friendly Website

Google announced last month two major changes that will affect the rankings of search results on mobile devices i.e. search done using Google search on mobile devices. Search will now take into account a site’s mobile friendliness as one of its input for the ranking. Additionally, relevant app content will start appearing in the search results for signed in users who have the app installed on their smartphone.

“As more people use mobile devices to access the internet, our algorithms have to adapt to these usage patterns,” explains Google in its announcement.

What does this mean for users, in general, e-commerce vendors and online buyers in specific? Read further to know more about the changes introduced and how will it affect the e-commerce industry.

Is this a big bang approach?

No, the changes listed above follow from number of previous efforts from Google to improve the search results. For example in early 2013, Google started flagging sites which would not display properly on mobile devices due to the technology used such as Adobe Flash, which meant that they won’t display on iOS and Android 4.1 and higher. Again ranking changes were effected for sites that would redirect a URL to site’s mobile version without providing the relevant content.

By November, 2014 Google began adding a “mobile-friendly” label to its search results on mobile devices that effectively meant that such sites would render correctly on smartphone screens. However, Google now thinks it seems fit to take it into account for ranking signals as well.

Changes in detail

In plain words, this means that Google has made it easier to find mobile friendly websites by making them rank higher in the page. Additionally, if you have already installed a mobile app of a particular e-commerce site and are searching for a product, results from that particular app will appear higher in your search.

As per Google’s announcement, the ranking will start including mobile friendliness from 21st April onwards. However, the information from indexed apps is already in use post announcement, as a ranking factor for signed-in users who have app installed.

Mobile friendliness ranking

As more and more users are using mobile to access internet, Google wants relevant content to be displayed to the user. To make your website more mobile fiendly Google has suggested number of resources in its blog post. To get help with making a mobile-friendly site, check out Google’s guide to mobile-friendly sites . If you’re a webmaster, you can get ready for this change by using the following tools to see how Googlebot views your pages:

If you want to test a few pages, you can use the Mobile-Friendly Test .

If you have a site, you can use your Webmaster Tools account to get a full list of mobile usability issues across your site using the Mobile Usability Report .

App indexing

Effective immediately, Google also factors in contents from mobile apps when ranking for search results. This new feature will lead to apps with relevant content feature more prominently. Note that this will work only if the user sign’s into that particular app installed on their device.

Google will not automatically index app content, webmasters manually activate App Indexing for app content to appear in the search results. Google has posted a step-by-step guide to help webmasters help them do this.

For the uninitiated, the guide directs the webmasters to provide “Deep Links” in their apps. Deep links point to specific pages within a mobile application that allow Google to index the apps in a similar way as it does websites today. During its early 2013 release, Google introduced its “app indexing” technology. Google also pointed out at that time how developers will be able to attract and re-engage app users by allowing Google search to point to content within the app pages directly. Google has also linked this with AdWords to allow developers to create ads that will lead to users launching the app once user selects the ads link.

Benefits to e-retailers and online shopping enthusiast

Gone are the days when you search for a product only on your desktop or laptop and order it using an e-commerce site. People now have expanded connectivity using their mobile devices, secured payment gateways setup on mobiles and apps that allow you to view products of your choice when you are on a move.

Again, according to multiple sources, India with 950 million mobile users is the fastest growing Mobile Subscriber base in the world. Out of which almost 19 – 20% use a smartphone or a multimedia phone. Out of these overall mobile users around 15-17% have an internet connection on their mobile devices. Assuming that even a small portion of this user base spend some time on their mobile and try to buy a product it translates into a huge opportunity for e-commerce companies.

According to mobile friendly website statistics reports, close to 30% of total traffic on e-commerce sites is now directed at mobile devices. However, it was still not possible to search for a product on a mobile device and simply click the link directing to the desired product. The link would inadvertently lead to a seller’s desktop website or a mobile friendly website, note that such websites were rarity rather than a norm. This lead to multiple dropouts from the basket. Which means a prospective buyer will add the product to their basket but will not make a payment to close the deal. According toBaymard Institute, a web research company in United Kingdom, 68% of online shopping carts are abandoned. A huge loss of business to any e-commerce company. The below image makes it amply clear that 25% users leave without paying because website navigation is too complicated.

It is fitting to say that the current enhancement from Google will benefit both the e-retailers as well as online shopping enthusiasts alike. The enhancement will ensure that the companies are nudged eventually to improve their website’s mobile friendliness or eventually appear at lower ranking thus losing relevance and footfalls so to speak. On the other hand, it allows the users to search and view content now directly from the apps to which they have signed in. This also allows the users to search for a product of their choice on their mobiles search, click the link populated and instead of going into a redundant desktop page, automatically launch an app and continue to fulfill the payment. Clearly, this leads to better deal closing rates, more revenue for the e-retailers and improved user experience for the customer. So hurry and install the PriceTree Price Comparison Android app available on Play Store on your mobile and save 60 to 70% of your time spent on price comparison and coupon search!

About the author

Vikash is the Founder @PriceTree (a price comparison site for shoppers and retailers) and loves business intelligence solutions & online marketing.

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