If you're like most people, you probably haven't heard of the so-called "Mobilegeddon" that's happening today. I'm not going to say it's a good or bad thing that you haven't. Just because Google says something in February doesn't mean that it makes the papers.
So, what's the big deal? Here's the story.
Google announced in February that sites that are not mobile-friendly will essentially be penalized in search results when a search is made from a smartphone. This does not affect searches made from tablets. Yes, I know, a tablet is a "mobile device", but Google treats tablets like desktops when it comes to searches.
What does "mobile friendly" mean? Fundamentally, Google's philosophy has now extended beyond getting people the best, most relevant search results. Now they want top ranking websites (on mobile) to have unique content, lots of social media and other relevance AS WELL AS a great user experience. These days, "great user experience" when viewing a website on a mobile phone means having a responsive website. The term "responsive" means your website has a layout that RESPONDS to fit various screens. Having a responsive website is now more important than before for many companies.
What this means for most businesses is . . . well, that depends.
If your business gets a significant portion of its web traffic from people using mobile devices, you could be in trouble. This depends largely on how people search for your business. If you run a coffee shop called "Higher Grounds Cafe" in Niagara Falls, for example, you may not be found as readily if someone does a search for "niagara falls coffee shop" or "niagara falls cafe". However, if people primarily search by your business name, you probably won't lose visitors searching on mobile devices.
Another perspective is that if your business operates in an industry where your clients aren't likely using mobile devices to search for a company like yours, you shouldn't be losing sleep over this change. Chances are that a person making a major purchasing decision will not be doing all of their research on a smartphone. If you sell office equipment or machinery or are generally a B2B type company, you may not notice any decline in your site visits.
I agree that "Mobilegeddon" may have a significant impact on many business' rankings in mobile search results. On the other hand, it's also true that MANY businesses already have poor rankings with their websites and are not getting great amounts of search engine traffic from non-brand (i.e. company name) searches. If a website is already ranked #25 for a search and it ranks #35 after Mobilegeddon, will it truly make any difference?
My suggestions for dealing with Mobilegeddon:
- Don't Panic. It was good advice when The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy came out and it's just as relevant today.
- Look at your website. Is it responsive already? If so, relax.
- Check your search engine rankings. Do you rank highly for a number of relevant searches? You might want to preserve that. Don't rank well at all? Well then, you might as well skip to #4.
- Check your website statistics. Do you have Google Analytics? Good. You can see how many searches came from mobile.
- Create a responsive website. I know - this is definitely easier said than done. I can help, so contact me.
- Act. The majority of business owners and entrepreneurs truly care about their search engine positioning. Most do nothing about it. If you're one of the ones who acts, you'll have an advantage over those who don't.
Another important point to consider is that according to Forrester research, between 2004 and 2011, the percentage of consumers who cited "search engines" as the way the found websites declined from 83% to 61%. One can see that while search is important, it's not the only factor involved in how you can draw attention to your brand and your website. Maybe your website is not mobile friendly. Perhaps you might be better off strengthening your brand on social media to get more visitors rather than investing in a mobile friendly website.
In short, Mobilegeddon may be a huge thing or nothing for your business to consider. If you want some advice, please contact me and I'll answer any question you may have about this topic.