Mobile Responsive Sites Boost Search Rankings for SMBs

Content Takeover Mobile & Local SearchIt’s no secret that mobile optimization plays a part in SEO rankings, but many small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are left wondering whether they need a mobile responsive site, a dedicated mobile site, an app, or all three.

The good news is that, in most cases, a mobile responsive site will do just fine. The bad is that upgrading for mobile takes time and money most SMBs are reluctant to give, according to Jay Taylor, managing director at Leverage Digital.

“A lot of SMBs are resistant to upgrading their website to be responsive. They’ll all tell you that SEO is a priority, and they want to rank high in the search results, but they’re often not willing to take that next step,” says Taylor. “Responsive websites can be fairly expensive and take a bit of time to build out, but it’s not really an option anymore. In order to be competitive in Google, companies are going to have to have mobile-friendly websites.”

Small businesses aren’t the only ones struggling to make the move to mobile. Large companies seem to be confused by the best practices for optimizing as well. For example, the used car sales site seems to have itself in a bit of an SEO bind. A mobile Google search for “Used F150 Tampa” turns up AutoTrader’s desktop site ranked beneath a similar, mobile-friendly option. Clicking the link leads to a prompt to download the app, but if the user remains on the site, there’s a lot of uncomfortable pinching and tapping to search.


“On smartphones this is a huge problem because as soon as you enter the site, you’re presented with really tiny text and navigation that you can’t click on or tap on so you have to tension zoom and all that. It’s a mess,” says Taylor. However, if users search “AutoTrader” on mobile, the brand’s dedicated mobile site comes up.

According to Taylor, the set up isn’t doing AutoTrader any favors. “If they had a responsive website as opposed to their current set up, they would have a website that caters to users whether they’re accessing their site from smartphone, tablet, or desktop,” says Taylor.


But businesses shouldn’t totally disregard dedicated mobile sites, according to Josh McCoy, a lead strategist at Vizion Interactive. Some local businesses that provide specific, timely services should optimize content on desktop and focus on service for mobile. To explain, he used the example of a local heating and cooling service.

“A classic example would be a heating and cooling company, which would need a mobile site with a huge click-to-call and a request to quote now. Someone searching for that type of service is standing in the basement with an iPhone looking at a broken heater. That when it’s good to have separate websites.”

Choosing the best way to update for mobile comes down to the nature of the business, but one thing is clear: brands need to be aware of their mobile rankings and plan for a future where mobile matters.

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