In early 2014 the world of internet access experienced a fundamental change, when the number of mobile devices used to surf the web exceeded the number of desktop devices being used for the same job.
This means that now, in 2015, significantly more people are using mobile devices to access your site than they are from desktops.
Yet, as many affiliate marketing sites were set up when desktop was king, even months on, the term ‘mobile optimisation’ is still not on their radar.
We therefore look at how important it is to ensure your website is ‘mobile-friendly’ and what you can do about it if it isn’t.
The Penalty for Not Being Optimised
As with many issues when it comes to affiliate marketing, pleasing Google is sometimes far more important than it should be. But when it comes to mobile optimisation the powers that be are bringing in the heavy guns to make sure you comply.
Already Google have introduced the mobile friendly flag on their search results, indicating to smartphone and tablet users which sites are preferred for mobile devices. But in April things are set to get a whole lot harder.
From April 21st 2015, Google will actually start to introduce penalties for sites that they deem not prepared for mobile use.
This means that, even if your site is experiencing heavy traffic and strong conversion rates today, just after Easter, you could see your rankings hit hard.
What Google Is Looking For
If you want to see whether your site is mobile optimised and ready for the new change as Google would see it, the first step should be to assess your site using the Google Mobile Friendly Test.
The three basic rules for eligibility are:
- Adequate text size
- Distance between links
- Mobile Viewport availability
The tool will then tell you which benchmarks you meet and which you do not. And, as usual, there are a few helpful guidelines and factsheets to help you along your way.
Does It All Really Matter?
If you are not a fan of Google and you are focusing on producing a high quality site through other distribution channels then the penalties that this search engine look to apply will not matter.
But this is a still key indicator of how important mobile friendly sites now are. And how much traffic you could be losing if you don’t get on board.
Obviously, the ultimate test is to ask your customers. If you are in a position to talk directly to them and discuss the usability of your site then the feedback they could provide will be worth its weight in gold. But if you do not have the opportunity for such dialogue, then do your own test. Pick up your mobile and see how your site looks on your phone. Many affiliates will do this as a matter of course. But if you don’t, you will be losing out.
Look at the site with a whole new perspective. Would you buy from the site as you see it on your phone? If the answer is no, then now is the time to act. You may even get a little help from the search engines along the way.
Harry Price is a multi talented guy living on the south coast. In addition to freelance writing, he teaches english at the local language school and is a part-time artist.