27 percent of websites aren't configured for smartphone searches

tablet search

A new report from SEO and content marketing specialist BrightEdge reveals that although almost 60 percent of American adults own smartphones and 40 percent own tablets, more than a quarter of websites aren’t mobile friendly.

This leads to a massive loss of potential traffic and if marketers rectify this misconfiguration, the report discovered they stand to boost smartphone traffic by 200 percent.

"With smartphone website traffic growing at 10 times the rate of desktop, mobile websites are quickly becoming the cornerstone to content marketing and customer engagement," says Jim Yu, CEO and founder of BrightEdge. "We know that mobile will play an integral role in the future of marketing and want to help brands navigate the challenges that mobile presents. This report will help businesses understand the best ways to create mobile-optimized sites in terms of traffic and search rank, boosting customer engagement and, more importantly, ROI".

The report also shows the differences between desktop and mobile. It reveals that 62 percent of searches show different results depending on whether the search was performed on a desktop or smartphone and mobile ranks are typically half a position lower than desktop. Since click-through rates are sensitive to rank this can lead to a significant drop in traffic.

With smartphone traffic expected to grow by 50 percent in 2014 companies need to ensure that they pay attention to the performance of their sites on mobile devices. BrightEdge identifies three different approaches to providing mobile sites.

Responsive sites deliver the same content across all devices with only the presentation changing. Dynamic sites vary the HTML according to the device used although the URL remains the same, however, the report warns that if not well implemented this can look like the type of 'cloaking' used by malicious sites. The final approach is to have completely separate desktop and mobile versions of the site.

The report concludes, "As enterprises cater to the growing mobile market, BrightEdge data shows that all three approaches to mobile website configuration rank about the same for a given keyword if implemented correctly. We believe many brands will take on responsive design as their choice of mobile configuration, but what we've found in talking with customers is that one mobile configuration is not necessarily a one-size-fits-all solution".

You can find out more and download the report from the BrightEdge website.

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