According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), a market research company, more United States consumers will access the Internet on mobile devices than computers by 2015. Smartphones and tablets, like the iPad, are making it easier than ever for consumers to access their favorite websites. Still, most websites are not optimized for mobile access. In fact, it has been estimated that only 21% of all websites have been optimized. Should the other 79% be considering mobile website optimization as well?

If it were up to Google, the answer to that question would be a definite yes. In September of 2011, Google released a statement informing website owners that mobile website optimization would affect their keyword quality, thus impacting their Adwords performance. Google also claimed that most mobile Internet users will not revisit a website from their phone if they had trouble doing so the first time.

While this is certainly concerning, website owners should determine their need for mobile website optimization by evaluating their personal statistics. The most important numbers to evaluate are the website’s bounce rate, time spent on the website, conversion rate and the number of returning visits. These statistics will make it clear whether a website is offering mobile Internet users an enjoyable experience.

If the bounce rate is high, mobile users might find the layout cluttered or difficult to navigate. If the website contains Java or Flash elements, the page might take too long to load. Websites owners should also know that neither iPhones nor iPads are Flash compatible. Flash-heavy websites are alienating a significant portion of mobile Internet users, which can inhibit a website’s overall performance.

To determine the need for optimization, website owners should also compare their mobile conversion rates to that of their other traffic. If conversion rates are much lower for mobile users than traditional Internet users, a website’s lack of optimization might be costing the website money. According to a 2011 survey conducted by GetPrice, 30% of mobile Internet users visit retail stores from mobile devices. In fact, among the 3,000 people surveyed, retail websites saw more traffic than entertainment websites and search engines. Based on these numbers, optimizing a website for mobile use might increase profits.

The amount of time users spend on a website can also be very telling. If mobile users leave quickly and never return, the website could probably benefit from optimization. With so many Internet users accessing the web from a phone, tablet or other device, it simply does not make sense for website owners not to take full advantage of this growing market.

How has your business benefited from mobile optimization? If you haven’t optimized your site yet…than what are you waiting for?