Pick up your iPhone or Android right now, pull up your web browser and search for your dealership using Google. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, chances are high that you’re invisible. Now’s the time to take action to stop the bleeding!
April 21 was the first day that the “mobile-friendliness” of websites impacted what gets shown to mobile device users within Google’s search engine result pages. Google constantly updates its search algorithms to efficiently meet the requirements of auto shoppers. You should be doing the same to your website, because today most of my clients get 50% or more of their website traffic from shoppers using mobile phones.
The bottom line: If your website disappeared on April 21, now is the time to diagnose, optimize and fix the problem.
Diagnose Your Website
First, use Google’s free mobile readiness tool. Input your dealership’s web address and give the tool a few minutes to take a look under the hood. You’ll get a detailed analysis of what’s working well, and what needs fixing.
What will turn on Google’s check engine light?
Contact Information: Is a mobile map link with turn by turn directions and your phone numbers at the top of every page when viewed on mobile? Can shoppers click to call and navigate?
Fonts: Are they easy to read on a small screen?
Touch: Are elements easy to see and use with routine screen gestures, and are they spaced far enough away from other elements?
Redirects: Be sure to have links to “mobile site” and “desktop site” in your site navigation so shoppers can switch between them.
Content: Don’t link mobile visitors to content that’s not mobile-optimized.
Speed: If your site loads slowly on mobile, you’ll run the risk of being flagged by Google.
Your Web Vendor: Be Responsive
After your mobile multi-point inspection, chances are your next call will be to your website vendor. Send them Google’s results, and ask for a responsive website template to be applied to your existing website. This will convert your site content and structure into a format that both Google and mobile users will find easier to use.
Beyond your site template, take some time to talk about site content. Imagine your typical auto shopper and the actions they would most likely perform on your website. Are they there to get vehicle information or view your inventory? Are they looking for your address or a phone number for sales or service?
Your Google Analytics reporting can show you exactly how mobile and desktop users are navigating your site. You must take into consideration possible actions that local auto shoppers will take from each device, and with these actions in mind update your site’s structure to be mobile friendly.
Share your analytics around which areas of your site are most used by mobile shoppers. Discuss how to enhance and improve this content to better meet shopper needs, being sure that a map locator and phone numbers are always front and center at the top of every page.
With this information in hand, dealership web masters will have a better understanding of how to reach to their mobile customers and ways to optimize their websites for attracting them to your dealership. Your website updates will not only make your store appealing to auto shoppers searching on mobile, but will also satisfy Google’s changes and enhance your mobile website’s performance.
Remember, a mobile-friendly web design makes it easy for auto shoppers to navigate your site and quickly head to your dealership. With most dealers getting half of their website traffic from mobile devices, Google’s change is well-timed to help you be assertive online in your local market to be found and attract more qualified shoppers in 2015 and beyond.