It's Time for Accountants to Get Responsive
Let’s face it, accountants don’t get much time to relax. With the Easter break now behind us most accountants turn their attention to the big May 15 tax return deadline, however, there is something more pressing that you might need to prioritise thanks to Google.
On April 21, Google is making another major change to their search engine algorithms. They have announced that “Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”
Well … what exactly does this mean for accountants?
From that date their mobile search platform will favour mobile-friendly websites. If your website is not optimized for mobile devices (such as smart phones) and tablet devices (like iPads) your website will take a hit in the Google rankings. At the same time, those sites that are mobile friendly will get a lift in the rankings. Mobile-friendly websites basically automatically re-size to fit whatever portable device they are viewed on plus they have links that are easy to click on and the text is larger than the font on a conventional website.
Is this really important?
Absolutely. In fact 72 percent of mobile users voted it was important to have a mobile-friendly website in a recent Google study. Not only that, 79 percent say they will search again until they find a website optimized for their mobile device. More than half of Google’s traffic is now on mobile devices so they want to make sure their users have a good mobile experience. The mobile statistics on our website are also compelling and at the start of 2013 we noticed about 10% of our website traffic was on hand held mobile devices. This figure increased by 50 percent by the end of 2013 and in 2015 our mobile traffic is close to 30 percent.
This change was announced in February by Google but most accountants remain unaware of the change. The vast majority of accountant’s websites I have been checking remain unresponsive to mobile devices and Google has created a tool that allows you to test your website. Simply click on this Mobile-Friendly Test page and type in your website URL.
Ignoring this shift will mean a downgrade in your search engine rankings which in turn will lead to less traffic and less leads. Some of the firms in the Accountants Accelerator Group are generating six figure returns from their website and they expect another surge in their rankings as their sites are already responsive. Research from online ad network Chitika suggests very few searchers make it past the top three organic listings on page one. The top listing in Google's organic search results receives 32.5 percent of the traffic compared to 17.6 percent for the second position and 11.4 percent for third position. This means 61 percent of visitors don’t go past the third position on the first page and the traffic falls away from there. If your website isn’t responsive to mobile devices then you’re not going to get found by the mobile generation of 18-40 year olds. Nearly two thirds of the Australian population own a smart phone and growing so you can’t afford to ignore this important change.
The key features that distinguish a fully optimized website for mobile devices from a dated one include:
- Design Adapts to the Screen Size and DeviceOrientation Simplified Navigation
- Clean Page Layout
- Compressed design elements
- Phone Numbers have a Click to Call Function
- Addresses have Device Map Functionality
- Calls to Action are Set-up to work with simple Pop-Up Forms
Without these features you will lose ground on your competitors and Gen X and Gen Y will ignore you online. The internet generation will bypass a poor mobile website for one fully optimized. Failure to keep up with this change will frustrate your website visitors and they will vote with their feet (or should I say fingers) because a superior website experience equates to more trust and more conversions.