January 24, 2017
The popularity of mobile devices is increasing; just look around. All you need to do is walk outside to see tables of people having dinner together while staring at their phones, or individuals texting and walking, texting and driving, or, in some truly fascinating cases, texting, eating and walking — all at once.
While it’s easy to panic at this shift and criticize the mobile boom as something that takes us away from the present moment and all but destroys human communication as we know it, these criticisms aren’t entirely based in reality.
In fact, if you look at it objectively, the mobile boom has done many fantastic things, not only for connection and communication but also for small business marketing and ownership.
Today, virtually everything is trending toward optimization for mobile platforms. This is true for content ranging from shopping apps to news articles, and it’s a trend that shows no sign of slowing down. If you own a business, have an online presence, or want to expand your footprint in the digital world, it’s critical, now more than ever, to optimize your content for mobile.
Today, we’re going to dig into this: why is it true, how do you do it and why does it matter? Read on.
Mobile Optimization: The One True Competitive Advantage
Today, virtually anyone can be a publisher. Platforms like WordPress make it incredibly easy to write a blog and post it online. It’s also easy to be a graphic designer, social media guru, and “digital marketer.”
In light of this, many marketers are a little concerned about what, if any, competitive advantage still exists in the digital world.
Rest easy, though -all hope is not lost.
While it’s true that anyone can be a publisher, not anyone can be a great publisher. What’s more, very few of the people publishing content and today’s online environment understand what it takes to cater to users, rank well, and attend to all of Google’s continuous changes. One of the biggest things that these DIY publishers often miss is the importance of mobile optimization.
In 2016, mobile platforms became the primary devices search engine users use to search the web and access their favorite websites. The moment that that happened, everything changed. In addition to creating quality, user-focused content, publishers suddenly also had to create content that catered appropriately to the devices customers were using to access said content. This is where the importance of mobile optimization came in, and it continues today.
Mobile Optimization and Google
Mobile optimization isn’t just important for users, though – it’s also critical for Google. According to Search Engine Land, Google cares deeply about mobile optimization and has laid out plans like the mobile-first index (which ranks content based on its mobile functionality, even if a desktop version is displayed) and requirements for responsive design and mobile-friendly websites to demonstrate it.
Today, sites that are not optimized for mobile risk being penalized by Google, which may have a detrimental impact on rankings and search engine results page visibility.
Is Your Content Mobile Friendly?
The answer to this question depends in large part on which CMS you use to create content. If you are on WordPress or HubSpot, for example, it’s likely that the answer is yes. Both of these platforms take proactive steps trying to content creation phase to make content immediately mobile friendly. This is especially so for HubSpot, which enables AMP on every page created with its CMS.
If you don’t use one of these platforms, or you’re not sure if your content is optimized for mobile, here are a few tools you can use to find out:
Google’s mobile-friendly test tool. This is one of the simplest and fastest mobile optimization tools out there. Just plug in your site’s URL, and this tool tells you if your site is mobile-friendly and, if it’s not, what you can do to make it that way. Free, simple, and easy to use, this is the first stop for those trying to determine if their content is mobile-friendly.
Mobile usability report. Another Google tool, the mobile usability report calls out pages on your website that are difficult for mobile users to view or interact with. Ideal for anyone looking to dig deeper with mobile responsiveness, the store is great for pinpointing specific problems.
PageSpeed Insights tool. Another component of mobile-friendly sites is how fast they load. Make sure yours is up to speed with the PageSpeed Insights tool.
The Future of the Web Lies in Mobile Optimization
More than ever before, quality content currently relies on a mixture of topic, writing, and display, and user-experience. As more people around the world have turned to mobile platforms to access and surf the web, the requirements for online content have changed, and many publishers are finding themselves struggling to keep up.
As we move into 2017, the one massive thing you can do to improve and streamline your content (all of it) is to make it mobile-friendly. In addition to allowing you to keep more of your page visitors, making content mobile-friendly is a fantastic way to improve the experience users enjoy on your page and enhance the value of your site across the board.
In a world where virtually everyone is a publisher and social media marketer, creating relevant, compelling, mobile-friendly content is one of the few things marketers can do to boost their competitive advantage and stay in the game.
Julia McCoy is a top 30 content marketer and has been named an industry thought leader by several publications. She enjoys making the gray areas of content marketing clear with practical training, teaching, and systems. Her career in content marketing was completely self-taught. In 2011, she dropped out of college to follow her passion in writing, and since then grew her content agency, Express Writers, to thousands of worldwide clients from scratch. Julia is the author of two bestselling books on content marketing and copywriting, and is the host of The Write Podcast. Julia writes as a columnist on leading publications and certifies content strategists in her training course, The Content Strategy & Marketing Course. Julia lives in Austin, Texas with her daughter, husband, and one fur baby.