Mobile-optimized websites = Cross-browser compatibility

Strap on your time machine and think back to 1998. Remember when half the world’s websites only worked in Internet Explorer?   Remember when some only worked in Firefox?   Remember when rankings changes started happening when your site rendered improperly on half the world’s browsers because your bounce rate was ridiculous?

Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about: Cross-browser compatibility.

It’s an old term – a nineties term – and for most people, it’s a given. You want your website to look awesome regardless of the hardware, software and internet speed your visitor is coming to your site. You want to deliver the best user experience possible to get them to link-love you and return-visit you and share you on Facebook and stumble the crap out of your content.

Even luddite VPs get this because they want the website to look right on IE6 which is still the only shortcut on their desktops labeled “INTERNET”.

Now, let’s talk about the mobile-optimized web.

The vast majority of companies are still categorizing mobile browser compatibility as a “nice to have” feature, a medium-priority optional enhancement.

To which I say:   ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MINDS?

  • In 2011 there are 5.3 billion mobile subscribers worldwide
  • Half a billion people accessed mobile internet in 2009
  • In the US alone, 25% of mobile web users only access the internet via their phones
  • Want mobile web stats?

And still, the website that works effortlessly on a phone is “optional”?

SEO-wise, this makes me shake in my boots for a website without a mobile site. Why?

Because bounce rates on mobile devices are going to go up, and when they do, the engines are going to take notice. And it’s only a matter of time before the algorithms start taking that into account. It might not affect your desktop/laptop rankings… but what will it do to smartphone SERPs? What about iPad SERPs?

Do you really think that Google and Bing – who focus so much attention on user experience – are going to ignore the message of “We don’t care about mobile web visitors”?   Nah, I didn’t think so either.

Re-prioritize that mobile site to the top of the list, people. It’s already big, and it’s just getting bigger.

(Sorry about the rant, but I did mention in my last post that I’m really only going to be blogging here when I need a soapbox, and this is something I feel like I’m explaining a lot lately.)

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