When the first internet-capable mobile phone was released in 1996, no one could have predicted how we would be using the internet today. Now 85% of Americans own a smartphone1—a 50% increase since 2011 when the Pew Research Center started tracking ownership.
Smartphone ownership has brought about a curious side effect: mobile browsing as the exclusive means of accessing the web. Since most people are walking around with what’s literally a pocket-sized computer in hand, they’re using their devices just as they used PCs in the first decade of the 2000s—to search and browse the internet.
So do you need a mobile site? The answer is a resounding yes, but that’s probably not very helpful. To maximize the benefit of a mobile site, you need to understand why it’s necessary.
New Leads are Looking for You on Mobile
In the last decade, mobile internet use has skyrocketed. What once began as a blip on the usage radar screen has ballooned into the primary way people use the internet. In 2011, more than 93% of internet traffic came from desktops2 while only 5.2% came from mobile devices. The most recent numbers reveal that smartphones generate more than 56% of internet traffic.3 That’s an incredible increase of about 900%.
In 2018, the percentage of adults who had a smartphone, but no home internet connection to use a PC, peaked at 20%.1 That number has fallen to 15% in 2021, most likely due to the prevalence of streaming services requiring a broadband connection to view digital entertainment at home. Although the number has decreased, the message is clear: users are on their phones so much, they simply have no reason to surf the net on a PC.
Ten years ago, the average user was on their smartphone for 88 minutes a day.4 Today that number has nearly tripled to 203 minutes a day. People are using their smartphones more than ever before, and the rate of use shows no signs of slowing down.
Behavioral Health SEO is Better on Mobile Sites
You’ve probably heard the term “mobile-first strategy.” This is when a website is designed for mobile use first and PC use second. The rationale is obvious. Since most internet users access sites on their mobiles, your website should focus primarily on mobile optimization.
Google agrees with this strategy and, in early 2021, fully implemented a mobile-first index. Now when Google indexes a site for search, the site is examined through the eyes of a smartphone user rather than a desktop user. Google’s goal is to gauge the site’s relevance for mobile users—the more mobile-ready, the higher the rank.
In simple terms, optimizing your mobile site for the mobile-first index requires
- Ensuring crawlability by using the same meta tags on the mobile and desktop versions of your site
- Making content on your mobile and desktop sites identical, including organization
- Structuring data on the mobile and desktop versions uniformly
- Using the same titles and meta descriptions on mobile and desktop versions
You probably noticed a trend in that list. To optimize your mobile site for SEO, every aspect of your mobile site should be a mirror image of your desktop site.
Mobile Sites Elevate User Experience
RankBrain is the third most important ranking factor on Google.5 If RankBrain doesn’t like your site, Google doesn’t like your site. Never heard of it? You’re not alone. RankBrain is a machine-learning tool that examines user behavior metrics like bounce rate, dwell time, organic click-throughs and more to determine the overall quality of user experience.
Google places an extremely high value on user experience and trusts RankBrain to inform the search algorithm on the site’s user experience quality. Given Google’s preference for mobile sites, making sure your mobile site provides an excellent user experience has never been more critical.
Mobile websites are a must for every behavioral health center. And if you don’t have one, you need one now. If you need help building an effective mobile site for your behavioral health center, contact us today at 877.958.9180 to learn more.
- Pew Research Center Mobile Fact Sheet
- What Percentage of Internet Traffic is Mobile?
- Desktop vs Mobile vs Tablet Market Share Worldwide
- 21+ AMAZING Mobile Internet Usage Statistics in 2021
- Google RankBrain: The Definitive Guide