Website Usability May Trump Attractiveness For SEO Rankings

Responsive DesignGoogle is forever making changes to search results and keeping business owners on their toes in order to ensure their website is ranking high in search. And now Google has thrown another twist into the game - a new search algorithm has gone into effect April 21st which ranks non mobile-friendly sites lower in the search queue. This might send several businesses into a panic as they are not yet optimized for mobile, but never fear, it’s easy to get your website where it needs to be. 

In order to keep up with the popularity of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, you have to have a responsive site. Whether you are designing a fresh website or tweaking your current one, there are a couple things to keep in mind.

  1. Usability over attractiveness. It’s easy to fall into the trap of creating an attractive and stimulating interface since we all know it’s the visuals that catch the eye. However, when designing for mobile-friendliness, it’s better to focus on ease of use rather than a nice looking interface. Keep in mind people will be looking a smaller screen, so it might not do to have every single button visible. You need to prioritize and select those items that are most important and vital for easy navigation.
  2. Make it snappy. Even though we live in a world with fast mobile devices, it’s still a good idea to build for slower connections. Your mobile device is only as good as your network. While most of us have 4G, much of the rest of the world has 3G. Whatever the connection may be, keep in mind that websites who lag behind will be abandoned. Load times should be as short as possible.

Now is also the time to take a look at the whole user experience and see what you can do in order to make your website mobile-friendly and help your position in Google’s search results. 

  • Simplify. First things first - take a look at your navigation and see what is really needed. Too often, e-commerce sites have large, complex looking navigation systems so that shoppers can sift through information as they need it. However, it is possible to present your menu using clear, predictable labels that are easy to follow and provide next steps. This is where drop-down menus become your friend. This will help you keep your main navigation items at a minimum for a clean look. Just keep in mind that your customers should be able to move easily about your website whether they are using a mobile device or desktop.
  • Reduce your load time. It’s also a good idea to take a look at your images. You don’t want overly large images that are going to slow the loading of your pages. If you can keep your images to 200KB or less, your load time will drastically improve. And while pictures are attractive and fun to look at, make sure you don’t get too image happy as this will slow your website way down for the mobile user. Select a few tasteful images that correspond with your content. 

The goal is to not only make your website mobile-friendly, but user friendly as well. If you are willing to take the time and tweak your site in the wake of Google’s new algorithm, you will likely improve load time and performance. Not to mention that you will keep your rankings where you want them. It’s worth a shot.