27 Percent of Mobile Sites Are Misconfigured Leading to Lower Traffic

percent of mobile sites

Want to know why the mobile version of your site isn’t reaping the benefit of all that mobile traffic you’ve been hearing about? Well, it could be because poor configuration of your mobile site is causing it to rank poorly with search engines.

That’s right. A new study says up to 27 percent of mobile sites are not configured properly.

And that could be costing you a huge amount of traffic, not to mention loss of revenue, because potential customers never even find the mobile version of your site.

A recent research report (PDF) from SEO and marketing platform BrightEdge explains:

“While the ranking outcome of a correctly implemented mobile configuration is virtually the same regardless of the type (e.g., responsive, dynamic, separate URLs), an incorrectly implemented site resulted in a drop in smartphone rank by almost two positions (1.82 on average).

This drop in the search rankings may not seem like much, but click-through rates are highly sensitive to rank. Thus, this drop in rank leads to a 68 percent drop in traffic.”

But more alarming than the loss of traffic to your mobile site is the fact that mobile makes up an increasing amount of overall Web traffic.

For example, Android and iPhone devices now account for an estimated 23 percent of organic traffic. And that share is expected to grow by 50 percent this year.

Add to that, tablets now make up about 12 percent. Meaning, together mobile makes up almost a third of organic traffic today, the report concludes.

Steps for improving traffic to your mobile site vary depending upon the configuration you are using:

Let’s look at the main problems the report identified for each of the three prominent types of mobile configuration:

  • Responsive: In this configuration, content remains the same but the way the content is displayed changes based on the size of the screen on which it is being read. Conditional loading speed is the greatest challenge here. Making sure the mobile page loads as quickly as the Web version of your site may require changes in the number and size of images, videos and other files.
  • Dynamic: In this configuration, display and content vary depending upon the device used to view the site. One of the greatest problems, in this case, according to the BrightEdge study, is neglecting to optimize the mobile version of your site’s content in the same way you optimized the desktop version.
  • Separate URLs: In this configuration, devices are actually directed to different URLs depending upon the type of device being used to access your site. In this case, proper tagging is needed to let search engines know the two sites are connected. Coding on the mobile site is needed to be sure the search engine can effectively crawl it.

The separate URL configuration had, by far, the largest number of errors, the study concluded.

The company says it gathered the data for the study using its Data Cube tool which collected over 100 terabytse of search related data from across the Web each week for analysis.

Image: BrightEdge

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Shawn Hessinger Shawn Hessinger is the Executive Editor for Small Business Trends and has been with the team for 17 years. He is a professional journalist with more than 20 years experience in traditional and digital media for trade publications and news sites. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has served as a beat reporter, columnist, editorial writer, bureau chief and managing editor for the Berks Mont Newspapers.