The Rise of Mobile and Your Online Reputation

It is predicted that mobile internet use will outpace desktop internet use worldwide in 2013. Right now there are already more mobile internet connected devices than have ever existed and the numbers are growing daily—especially in emerging economies like India and China.

For proof you can look at the sale of Apple devices. It took 3 years for Apple iPod sales to reach 10 million units sold. The iPhone reached 10 million units in 2 years. And the iPad took only 9 months to reach the same number. More and more people are using mobile devices for internet access. But most of our websites are built for traditional desktop-based browsers.

If you’ve ever seriously tried to find information on the internet with your smartphone, you know how frustrating it can be to visit websites and landing pages that are not optimized for mobile. The text is small, and so are the buttons. You have to zoom in to see pictures or make any sense of what the text is saying.

In fact, 50% of mobile users are not willing to wait more than 5 seconds for a website to load on a mobile device. And 1/3 will return to the search results to find a mobile optimized site if their first click did not result in a mobile-friendly site.

In terms of reputation management, that means that you need to start thinking not only about your customer’s online experience, but their mobile experience as well. It would be terrible for a mobile user to click through to your main websites only to find that it isn’t mobile friendly, and for that user to turn back to the search results and click on a blog post by a disgruntled ex-employee that is optimized for mobile use.

Your Mobile Reputation

First and foremost you need to make sure that your main site—which should be the first result in a Google search for your company name—is optimized for mobile. And there are three ways you can go about doing this.

1) Separate mobile and desktop sites
Instead of redesigning your entire site for multi-platform use, you can simply make a separate mobile site and reroute all mobile users to that site for a better mobile experience. This is a reasonable solution, but it isn’t always the most elegant, and it is not the preferred method Google likes to see.

2) Separate HTML for mobile and desktop

With this method, users are visiting the same URLs, but the HTML served to them on each page is different, depending on the device they are using. This is a more efficient way to tackle the problem, but it is still a hassle to have to deal with what are essentially two sites in one.

3) Responsive web design

Responsive web design would require a reworking of your entire site so that the HTML remains the same across the board, but the CSS changes the looks and feel of the site based on the size of the screen. This is the most efficient and elegant solution—and the one preferred by Google, but it requires a site redesign, which is not always an option.

All Web Properties

Seeking an optimized mobile experience for your users is your first step to ensuring that your reputation stays intact. Not only will it prevent your mobile users from bouncing from your site, but it will improve your reputation by building trust in the people who visit it.

Additionally, if you’re serious about building an iron clad SERP for your reputation management, you’ve probably built multiple sites and that all rank for your company or brand name. Now is a good time to make sure that all these sites are optimized for mobile as well. It might actually be easier to optimize these sites with responsive web design than your main site because they are smaller and built simply for ranking purposes.

Of course you cannot control the way other people build their websites. But if you are trying to get 3rd party sites to rank well in your branded SERPs, try to ensure that these sites are mobile friendly as well. If not, that okay. But if you have a choice, choose mobile optimized sites over desktop-only sites.

Mobile is on the rise and those that are prepared will succeed in the new mobile world. Those who cannot adapt now will only be playing catch up. So make the choice now to get ahead of the trend and the technology by being aware of the mobile compatibility of your web properties. It may affect your online reputation more than you know.