Mobilegeddon Survival Guide

Are you losing rank on Google - Is your Magento mobile friendly?

The importance of a mobile-friendly experience for Magento.

As of last year, large e-commerce providers have reported that more than 50% of their traffic is coming from mobile. As an e-commerce agency, we bring retailers to the mobile game, but now the pressure is on.

Google has announced that on April 21st, it will start using the factor of mobile-friendliness to influence rank in its organic search engine.

This leaves e-commerce owners with many questions.  How will this update affect websites? How will to determine where website’s current status? How can websites owners take advantage of this new change?

As a rule of thumb, Google notifies web owners of major changes to its algorithm because it wants to ensure that people with good content are rewarded. Their goal is not to harm the content providers and, in our case, the e-commerce stores, but to provide a better experience to a shared base of users between you and Google. Therefore, it is vital that website owners follow the best practices that Google set’s forth, otherwise the hard efforts spent over the years to win position in Google’s Ranking will be lost in weeks time.

Google’s new change will not harm your desktop search results, and surprisingly not your tablet results. We believe this is the case often times renders desktop websites “good enough”. We believe we should keep our eyes open on this because but as Google amasses more data about how users are reacting to changes; we believe they will also start looking at how mobile friendly the website’s tablet experience is. To understand what the website owners stand to lose, or gain, it is important to look at Google’s previous update – Panda and see how it has affected others. SEO reports have shown that websites, which did not update their content, lost up to 80% of traffic! On the flip side, websites that made the necessary changes to follow best practices gained as much as a 400% increase in traffic. So let’s embrace this new change and use it to drive more traffic – and revenue to our sites.

The next step is to determine where your store currently stands. Luckily Google has tools for us to do just that. Just click on this link: Mobile Test, to see it in action. In the example link provided, NANO has used one of its clients, Cuddlduds. Utilizing our mobile solution, the home page has proven to be mobile friendly. Google checks each of your pages for mobile friendliness, not just your home page / domain. Make sure to run through your home, category, and subcategory and, of course, product pages to check that all show up properly.

Google recommends a variety of ways for website owners to become mobile optimized. Understanding the Magento platform though, gives preference to some choices over others. The first thought that comes to mind for most people is a responsive website, but we have found that this is not the best answer to the problem. First off, if you are not currently on a responsive website, the cost associated with refactoring and rebuilding your website may be equivalent to building a new site from scratch. The second issue, and one that NANO considers to be a huge factor in mobile is performance. Loading a responsive website essentially loads a whole desktop website on a mobile device, where processors are weaker and internet connections are less stable. In fact, Google is considering speed on mobile as one of the deciding factors if the website is mobile friendly. Other options such as running completely separate websites on m.yourstore.com are complicated to manage and require extra tinkering to link the two websites. Improperly setting this up can harm your mobile rankings instead of helping.

As a solution, we recommend running a mobile theme, or as Google calls it – a dynamic serving website. This will give you a mobile website that runs on the same Magento installation, pulling all of your same data on the home page, category, subcategory and product pages as your desktop website. It lives on the same domain name – yourstore.com, so there are no canonical URLs to manage. It tackles on performance ferociously as it only sends mobile content to the mobile device, nothing extra. It doesn’t send desktop-sized images to your mobile phone, nor does it send excess CSS and JS code. The time to implement this is also much shorter than a responsive website as it is installed on your website to live side by side your desktop. It could be integrated even in time for April 21st!

Through our years of experiences NANO has built all sorts of websites, including the three options listed above. Repeatedly we have seen that the dynamic serving websites or mobile themes convert visitors to customers at a higher percentage. As our ultimate goal, increasing conversion rates directly increases store revenue. With this in mind, we have created our own Magento mobile theme to help take your Magento store to the mobile platforms. Our mobile theme, called Giganto™ (can be found on Magento connect), has had dozens of iterations working with clients. It is also exposed to hundreds of thousands of unique monthly visitors. It is fully adaptive to your store, pulling in your inventory and content pages. All shipping and payment methods are identical, and it integrates with your existing order process. Clients can even start a cart on their mobile devices and place their orders on desktop!

With April 21st right around the corner, don’t be on the losing end of mobileggedon. Contact us to find out how we can help to assess your website and get you up and running in the next week.

#Mobilegeddon

[1]  http://www.shopify.com/blog/15206517-mobile-now-accounts-for-50-3-of-all-ecommerce-traffic
[2] http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2015/02/finding-more-mobile-friendly-search.html
[3] http://blog.searchmetrics.com/us/2014/09/26/panda-update-4-1-winners-losers-google-u-s/
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