On April 21st something happened that changed the search engine landscape forever. Some call it the Mobilegeddon. Last week Google released their latest algorithm, which truly was a game-changer. If you thought that the Panda and Penguin updates made a massive impact on the search engines results, wait until you see the effects of this. The new algorithm favors mobile friendly website designs and penalizes websites that are not mobile-friendly. This means that optimizing your content, design and layout of your website for mobile devices is no longer a choice. It is a must!
What is a mobile-friendly website?
A mobile friendly website design has a specific layout and content based on the size of the viewing device. If you are using an iPhone the site will look different than on a desktop or tablet device. With a mobile friendly design, you will make sure that visitors are always getting the best user experience, no matter what device they are using. How does it work? By letting the web browser allow the backend CSS code to respond differently to varying mobile devices by using a range of different coding techniques.
But my website already works on a mobile screen!
Does it look the same on a Smartphone as on a desktop? Do you have to zoom to read text? Are links close together? Bad luck! Google will crack down on all of these shortcomings. Prepare to shrink your content and make main navigation and call-to-action buttons more accessible. Remember that your user is most likely using his or hers thumb to navigate the website and not a cursor. In addition, the file size of your content must be compressed in order to have quicker loading times over the wireless LTE net. Make sure your website has all of these functions in place.
How do I know if my website is mobile friendly?
Besides from getting on your Smartphone yourself and trying to decide if you’re enjoying the user experience or not, you can run a mobile-friendly test. Google was nice enough to create the Mobile Friendly Test Tool before they send your website down into the abyss of lost Google search results. You can find it here:
We are mobile users! What do we want? LOCAL!
Think about this: If a customer is out on the street, searching for a brick and mortar store or a nearby restaurant on their Smartphone, what do they want?
- Your location
- Your hours
- Your deals
It’s as simple as that. You don’t have to give your mobile user a wall of text about your business/restaurants history, what your mission is or how passionate you are about cats. All you need to tell them is: where they can find you, when you are open and why they should choose you (deals).
Why is Google evil and dropping my site rank even though it’s relevant for my search terms?
Google is not evil, users are evil. Google is simply displaying the mobile-friendly websites before the non-mobile-friendly alternatives for people who are using their mobile device. A direct result of this, is that mobile users are going to pick the mobile-friendly site over non-mobile-friendly, stay on the site longer (reducing bounce-rates) and convert at a higher rate. In the world of SEO, more traffic, lower bounce-rates and increased conversions are rewarded with better ranking.
My website is not mobile-friendly and Mobilegeddon has already happened, is it too late?
Yes. And no. You are definitely out in the last minute and Google will most likely penalize your website and drop you in rankings. So we have two words for you: Harm reduction. Just because your website is going to take a beating from this update, does not mean that you should leave it non-mobile-friendly. That would be like letting your car engine blow out just because you’re late on your oil change. Talk to your web developer (or honestly, talk to a new web developer if he or she haven’t addressed this issue) and see how they can help you.
Good luck with your online marketing endeavors and may you all survive the Mobilegeddon!