Watch Your Google Mobile Search Rankings Incinerate
Today is the day. Your mobile search rankings on Google could just be annihilated. It’s Mobilegeddon D-Day. April 21st, 2015. Google implements its new algorithm update that will focus specifically on web sites that are not responsive or mobile-ready…what Google calls, “mobile-friendly.”
The news has finally hit the big news outlets in the last 24 hours, and finally people are asking about it. But it’s a little too late to avoid the devastation to precious Google search rankings that have taken years to acquire. They could be destroyed overnight. Those of us that know the search engine optimization and website design industries have been warning for weeks, ever since Google made its rare, pre-update announcement in late February. Specifically, Google said:
“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”
Over the last few weeks it has hit me just how many web sites are at risk from this mobile-friendly algorithm update. Millions of sites, many are significant publisher web sites and major consumer destinations, are at risk of having their hard earned Google rankings tanked overnight. It’s shocking - like 28 Days Later, zombies eating brains shocking.
More shocking will be the millions of small and local business web site owners who will wake up to find their world turned inside out; who don’t realize how important this issue is because they don’t pay attention to the numbers until huge percentages of their site traffic disappear. They didn’t heed the warnings. They didn’t think it applied to them or attributed the warnings to scam artists looking to wiggle another buck from their web sites. Those business owners will be running through the streets, screaming for help.
My Customers Don’t Search for My Business When Mobile
OH YES THEY DO!
Don’t think it matters to your web site? Then you’re just ignoring facts. On average, 30% of a web site’s visitors are using a Smartphone or tablet of some make, model and OS. That’s average. I can attest as I’ve gone through each of my clients’ visitor analytics data over the last several weeks to confirm the reported average and every one has at least 30% of its traffic from people who are “mobile.” Business consulting web sites. Medical and healthcare services web sites. Insurance web sites.
But get into local businesses like restaurants, repair services, installation services…businesses people need when they are most definitely out and about in unfamiliar territory…and the slice of traffic from mobile users skyrockets.
How are most of those people GETTING to those web sites? Through a Google search.
What Does Mobile-Friendly and Responsive Mean?
Web sites that are mobile-friendly provide users a variation of the web page designed for non-mobile devices and larger or more standard screen sizes.
It is important that your web site be:
- Easy to engage
- Easy to read on a small device and in both skyscraper and landscape views
- Text should be larger
- Buttons should be larger and easier to tap
- Menus easier to touch and use…especially menus with submenus
In many cases, a mobile version of a web site will remove unnecessary images that take longer to load. Or some products or services are hidden because they are irrelevant to a mobile audience. If you were a restaurant, you’d want your menu and your reservations content very easy to read. But your gallery of images showing the wedding receptions you’ve hosted in the last 10 years are not what a mobile audience is looking for. Hide that.
In all cases, mobile-friendly web sites need to load fast, not suck up a lot of data for users, and give visitors what they want, not everything your site has. Make buttons and menus easier to engage. Make the shopping cart simpler.
What Do You Do Now to Get Mobile-Friendly?
If you don’t know if your web site is mobile ready, you need to contact your web designer or online marketing manager and find out - TODAY. If you don’t have a person to ask, ask me.
Is it too late to avoid the search penalties? Maybe. You won’t know until you see your mobile traffic from Google rates evaporate like a lake near a nuclear test site. But, search page rankings can be rebuilt much faster than a town with radioactive fallout. So, you’ve got to get your web site mobile-friendly fast and then start repairing the damage you’ve done to your own search rankings.
Need help? I’m here to help if you need it.