mobile-friendly websites, Raleigh N.C.

Do mobile users find what they are looking for when they land on your business site? How quickly does your site load on mobile devices?

Google wants you to know the answers to these questions and how to improve your results. The company has introduced a new, free tool created with small business owners in mind. “Test My Site with Google” analyzes a site’s performance across devices and provides specific fixes for less-than-optimal results. It’s easy to use and does not require technical knowledge to understand.

Always seeking ways to provide optimal search results on their platform, Google updated its algorithm in 2015 to rank mobile-friendly sites higher in mobile searches. (You may have heard this major update referred to as Mobilegeddon.) As a result of these changes, non-mobile-friendly sites dropped 12 percent in rankings and smaller companies were hardest hit, according to a July 2015 study by Adobe. And as of September 2015, research from RBC Capital showed that less than 25 percent of small businesses had optimized their site for mobile.

Some of those businesses that dropped in rankings turned to purchasing more mobile search ads from Google to compensate. Still, the end result for Google was not a positive one —clicking on mobile ads that send users to non-friendly mobile sites is not a satisfying experience for the end-user and thereby does not garner the online sales anticipated by the business.

“Your customers live online,” reads a recent post on Google’s small business blog. “When they need information or want to find a nearby store or product, they grab the nearest device. … More searches occur on mobile phones than computers. But if a potential customer is on a phone, and a site isn’t easy to use, they’re five times more likely to leave.”

When Google helped a handful of small-business advertisers improve their mobile experiences, the businesses saw better results – about twice the previous “conversions,” according to Yong Su Kim, the company’s managing director of small-to-medium business sales for the Americas, as reported by Business Insider.

“Test My Site with Google” scores your site for mobile-friendliness, mobile speed and desktop speed. It identifies what’s working and what’s not, and it provides suggested solutions.

Google defines mobile-friendliness as “the quality of the experience customers have when they’re browsing your site on their phones. To be mobile-friendly, your site should have tappable buttons, be easy to navigate from a small screen, and have the most important information up front and center.”

The new tool takes just seconds to use (type in the URL of your business site and hit ‘test now’), and the results may give you practical tips for improving your site’s performance.

With the booming popularity of mobile searches, Google hopes to encourage more small business owners to create mobile-friendly sites — and to make it easier for them to do so. Give it a try, and let us know how it works for you!

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