Despite the increasing move toward mobile device usage, you might not think that your manufacturing website needs to keep smartphone and tablet users in mind. After all, your audience is more likely to be professional, conducting research about potential manufacturing and supply chain partners on their office computers.
But that assumption is becoming increasingly untrue. Not only are audiences across the spectrum shifting to mobile, but search engines like Google have recognized that shift and adjusted accordingly. One announcement in particular should have you rethinking the way your website is optimized.
Google's Mobile First Update
The first announcement came last November. After a series of subtle updates designed to accommodate mobile search users, Google announced that it's rankings across platforms would be based on a website's mobile version, regardless of what device was used for the search.
As most digital marketers know, search engines like Google determine which website should rank where based on 'crawlers' that determine the relevance of each page to specific search terms. To date, this crawl happens on regular, desktop websites. In Google's new Mobile-First Index, the crawler simulates a mobile experience instead.
For business websites in any industry, that change could have potentially significant consequences. Even if the majority of your audience still browses your pages on a desktop computers, your rankings and search visibility will depend on mobile usability. That, in turn, necessitates an emphasis of mobile optimization for your online presence.
It's important to note that we do not live in a world of mobile-first indexing quite yet. Google is still experimenting with its algorithm, and doesn't expect a full roll-out for another few months. Still, it makes sense to prepare for that roll-out now in order to maintain or even improve your SEO rankings when the update takes place.
What Makes a Great Mobile Website?
Given that you might not never have needed to consider smartphone and tablet users for your manufacturing website, you can be forgiving to ask this question. Fortunately, the same is not true in other industries, where an emphasis on mobile has long been a necessity.
Learning lessons from these industries can be a crucial help in optimizing your website for mobile. Some of the many tips include:
- Take advantage of responsive design, which automatically adjusts your website layout to the screen size from which your visitors view it.
- Emphasize fast page load speed through lean code and effective hosting. Mobile page loading speed may soon become an explicit SEO ranking factor for your website.
- Keep your navigation simple. Menus tend to get condensed to so-called hamburger menus on mobile devices, so it's crucial to streamline the experience.
- Avoid blocks of text. Visual content matters even more on mobile devices than desktop. Ideally, your users should reach no point at which only text fills their smartphone screen.
Of course, these are just some of the many factors that contribute to mobile optimization. The more you know, the more easily you can make adjustments to ensure a flawless mobile experience for your audience.
Building Your Manufacturing Website for a Mobile Future
Is your manufacturing website ready for a future in which mobile matters above all? Even if your audience is not yet at that point, Google soon will be. And given the amount of visitors most brands get from search, accounting for that fact is crucial for sustained and credible digital marketing success.
If you're looking to prepare for this future, we'd love to work with you. Our Manufacturing Website Redesign Workbook can get you started. Of course, you can also contact us directly to talk about your options, and learn about our expertise in building websites and marketing strategies for the manufacturing industry.