Why Your Brand Needs a Mobile-First Website in 2019

Web design experts and marketing specialists have been championing mobile-first design for years. But in 2019, brands need mobile-first web design more urgently than ever.

 That’s not just because most online traffic now comes from mobile devices. It’s also because companies like Google are transforming their own services to favor mobile-first usage.

Let’s take a deeper look, shall we?

Over the past year, Google has quietly switched to a mobile-first search index. This means that, rather than indexing the desktop version of your page, Google is crawling and indexing the mobile version instead.

To rank well on mobile and desktop devices moving forward, you’ll need a site that’s built for mobile users first. At the same time, Google’s mobile-first index is part of a broader shift to a more mobile-centric web, one in which desktop-first design is increasingly obsolete.

If your website already uses mobile-first design, you don’t need to worry about this change. But if your website has a poorly designed mobile interface — or if it’s primarily designed for desktop usage — this change could tank your search rankings, even on desktop.

What Mobile-First Indexing Means for Your Website

In 2017, mobile traffic on Google exceeded desktop traffic for the first time. This was also the year that Google announced that it would be switching its search index — the database of web pages from which it retrieves search results — to a mobile-first format.

Up to that point, Google’s index was mostly made up of desktop pages. If you had a responsive website, Google would crawl your site in desktop mode and index the desktop version of each page. It would also check if your website was mobile-friendly, which would impact your search rankings on mobile devices. But at its core, Google’s index was built for desktop search. That meant search rankings were primarily based on the desktop version of each page.

Mobile-first indexing is a complete reverse of this dynamic. Instead of crawling your website in desktop mode first, Google will now crawl and index the mobile first of each page. This means the mobile version of your website is the version on which Google’s rankings are based.

This means that when Google calculates search results, it’s looking at the mobile version of your page, not the desktop version. This is true even in desktop search. Even if your website has a great desktop experience, your desktop search rankings could plummet because it isn’t mobile friendly.

How to React to Mobile-First Indexing

As huge as mobile-first indexing sounds, most brands won’t notice much of a change. So long as your website is already mobile-friendly, your rankings should remain stable with the switch to mobile-first indexing.

But if your brand doesn’t already have a mobile-friendly website, now’s the time to upgrade. Likewise, if you operate a separate mobile website, or if you’re making significant changes to your current website, you’ll need to be careful about how you implement these changes.

Below are some quick guidelines and suggestions to help you navigate mobile-first indexing:

  • If you already have mobile-optimized website, make sure that you rate well for page speed and load time. Also, check that images and dynamic content load properly on mobile.
  • If you have separate mobile and desktop websites, on-page content and off-page infrastructure should be consistent across both sites.
  • If you’re launching a new mobile version of your website, do not launch until its 100% ready. Otherwise, the beta version of your site could get indexed, which could tank your Google rankings.
  • If you don’t already have a mobile-friendly website, you’ll need to get one if you want to rank well on Google.

Google’s switch to mobile-first indexing is a big deal for brands on its own. But it’s an even bigger deal in the context of how the web is developing on a wider scale.

Now that most consumers are mobile-first users, more and more of the web will become mobile-first in response. That includes key pieces of digital infrastructure — like Google’s search index — that were originally designed for a desktop-first world.

To learn more about Qiigo’s Website Management solutions, you can learn more here or fill out the form below to speak to one of our digital experts.

Generating Franchise Leads with Digital Marketing

When you’re developing a franchise brand, your survival depends on your ability to generate leads. Your brand can’t grow without qualified franchisees — even if you’ve created a strong franchise offering. To succeed, you need an equally strong system for generating franchise leads.

Digital marketing will play a central role in this system. To attract, nurture, and convert the right franchise leads, you’ll need a comprehensive and multi-channel strategy, one that covers multiple digital touchpoints.

Let’s take a closer look at how to make this happen.

Why Digital for Franchise Lead Generation?

At this point, almost every major franchisor depends on digital marketing for leads. This change is reflective of a broader, global trend toward digital marketing. But in the world of franchising, the shift toward digital marketing is especially noteworthy.

Here are five of the biggest reasons why this is the case:

  • Digital marketing gives you access to the widest possible pool of franchise leads, across the widest possible geographic area.
  • Programmatic, dynamic, and retargeted digital ads provide a cost-effective way to target your most qualified leads.
  • Franchisees conduct extensive self-directed research before purchasing a franchise. The majority of this research is conducted online.
  • Digital analytics offer powerful, proven methods for tracking, measuring, and fine-tuning online lead generation campaigns.
  • A multi-touchpoint digital marketing strategy will anticipate questions, concerns, and needs, creating a near-frictionless sales funnel.

Digital Marketing Strategies for Franchise Leads

A franchise location is a major purchasing decision. Given the weight of this decision, the purchase journey for franchise leads is an exceptionally long process.

As a franchisor, you need to stay with your leads at every step of this process. To do so, you’ll need to cover a wide range of digital touchpoints. What’s more, you’ll need a comprehensive overall strategy for lead generation. This strategy will need to connect from touchpoint to touchpoint, creating a coordinated journey for your leads.

Here’s a look at how a range of digital marketing channels can help you generate franchise leads.

  • Website Design. Before purchasing a franchise business, most entrepreneurs go through an extensive, self-directed research process. This process typically involves several hours spent reviewing franchisor websites. In light of this, your website could be the most important weapon in your lead generation arsenal. The perfect website will be attractive, fast, and intuitive, and it will have resources for every stage (or nearly every stage) of your sales funnel.
  • SEO. When creating your brand’s website, you’ll want to invest in search engine optimized content. SEO is a particularly cost-effective strategy for franchise lead generation. Search volumes for industry-specific franchise keywords are relatively low, so there’s less competition for these keywords. At the same time, those search volumes include a significant share of qualified buyers.
  • PPC Advertising. As with SEO, paid advertising is another great way to target high-quality leads. Through keyword research, you can identify which search terms are most closely associated with the different stages of the sales funnel. You can then tailor your ads to mirror the purchase journey of your prospects, keeping friction to an absolute minimum.
  • Programmatic. Programmatic advertising can help you target leads with extraordinary precision. Programmatic ads target users based on their search behavior, browsing history, location, and other factors. This way, you can micro-target your highest-quality prospects. Even better, you can reconnect with leads at later stages of your funnel, providing content tailored to their needs and preferences.
  • Social Media. In the world of franchising, social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn are the most powerful lead generation tools available. No other social networks compare in terms of quantity or quality of leads. Take the time to polish your personal and corporate profiles, target high-quality prospects with ads, connect with interested prospects via direct message, and qualify leads with paid ads that drive prospects to your website.

Each of these channels can be powerful tools for franchise lead generation. But that’s only true if they support and reinforce one another. To generate, cultivate, and convert high-quality leads, you’ll need to create a seamless journey: from point A to B to C.

To learn more about how Qiigo can help you achieve your Franchise Development goals through digital marketing, fill out the form below to  connect with one of our digital experts.