Author: Shammi Farook 

The Internet is evolving at an alarming rate, and as a small business owner, it’s important for you to grow along with it. Last week, we briefly discussed local consumer search behavior, and concluded that advertising in the phonebook is no longer a relevant way to reach new customers. Today, we will take a deeper look into local consumer search and purchase behavior to understand why it’s critical to adapt to the mobile takeover of web-surfing activities.
 
Remember back in the ‘90s when everyone kept saying you needed to have a website in order to be relevant? (Well, they were right.) And your website had to have cheesy Flash animations and blinking advertisements, right? (Okay, wrong.) Now we’re telling you that the future of your website is mobile optimization. Wrong, again? Well, at least half right. We will concede that mobile is not the future. In truth, mobile is now.
Your Customers Are on the Move. Why Aren't You? - Small Business Website Design, SEO, and Online Marketing Blog | High Level Marketing  - Screen_Shot_2014_09_05_at_1
 
A recent study conducted by Google in May 2014 states that 4 in 5 consumers use search engines to find local information—and a whopping 88% of those consumers are using their smartphones to do so. Consumers also purchase at a higher rate after local search—18% of local smartphone searches led to a purchase within a day. However, 60% of mobile users say they’ve encountered problems when browsing sites that are not mobile-optimized, which led them to abandon the page.
 
Your Customers Are on the Move. Why Aren't You? - Small Business Website Design, SEO, and Online Marketing Blog | High Level Marketing  - Screen_Shot_2014_09_05_at_2Now, we’ve all been there. A friend sends us a link to a website that, when opened, presents us with a jumbled page of unorganized garbage that is clearly not formatted for our phones. We leave immediately. Most people wait only 6-10 seconds before they abandon pages, either because it was too slow to load, the formatting made the content too difficult to read, or the site crashed. If your customers can’t easily browse your site, they will surely leave uninspired.
 
In our fast-paced world, where anything we want can be found at the touch of a button, it’s all about time. When we want something, we want it now. Mobile users are growing less patient and a frustrating mobile experience on your website could hurt their perception of your brand.
 
We search when we’re on the go and we need answers quick. If a user is able to immediately find you on Google, easily navigate your site, read it effortlessly, and load your pages quickly, you will guarantee a great user experience and convert visitors into customers. 
 
By mobile-optimizing your site, you can:
  • Greatly improve user experience
  • Streamline your content
  • Increase website load speed
  • Improve mobile SEO
  • Gain a competitive edge
 
The evidence is clear: the shift to mobile is now. Mobile offers us the opportunity to build websites that are intuitive for users and profitable for business owners. And the trend towards mobile is only increasing. If your content is not mobile-friendly, your customers will go elsewhere. Your competition is counting on it.