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Did We Miss The Point Of Mobilegeddon?

Mobile Friendly Website Google Update

I previously wrote about the Mobile Friendly changes being made in an article dramatically titled Is Your Website Mobile Friendly? Countdown to Mobilegeddon!  And yes, in the weeks leading up to the change, there was literally a countdown to the mobile apocalypse.

Given that 21st April came and went without turning the world upside down and inside out, I thought it warranted another look to see if we missed something.

There’s been a lot of speculation about why this mobile friendly update didn’t live up to the hype (or threats). So what happened? Did everyone miss the point or what?

❝ This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results ❞

Source: Google Webmaster Central Blog

Expectations

To be fair, many companies had their fingers burned by Panda and Penguin updates. So when google announced changes for mobile friendly websites and described it by saying “This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results”. It was a warning not to be taken lightly.

Previously the Panda and Penguin updates had been implemented to clean-up search results by getting rid of duplicate content, bad back-linking and a lot of other “black hat” or closing loopholes in various SEO techniques. And they did a great job. As a result, we all enjoy better quality search results to help find answers to our daily questions.

But this is where the ‘mobile friendly update was very different. Instead of focusing on the validity of your content, the mobile friendly update was looking at the usability of your website.

The Results – (so far)

We haven’t really seeing any devastating changes to first-page results, but some SE specialists claim they have tracked significant changes among further down the results lists (a few pages in).

Web sites with separate mobile and desktop websites have also noticed a shift in which of their sites are displayed in mobile search results compared to desktop searches (which makes sense).

Needless to say, it’s not what everyone was expecting. But there’s probably a good reason for this.

If you own or manage a site that provides the best answers or information on a subject that people are searching for, then obviously Google will want to connect those users with the information on your website, regardless of how it’s presented.

To do anything else would have devalued their own service. If you have a mobile-friendly option of your website then you should see a significant difference in which sites are displayed to users.

What happened to mobilegeddon?

It’s been theorized that in the lead up to activation, Google decided that the effects would have been too dramatic and decided to tone things down a little. While this sounds like a nice (warm and fuzzy) idea, it’s unlikely as they have been tracking mobile friendly websites for some time and would be well aware of the impact before even making the announcement. Although they may have expected more reaction from website owners.

I find it more telling that no one from Google jumped in to apply a little perspective to the situation. But then again why would they?  They have already stated that mobile usability will be a factor when calculating results. So I expect we’ll see more emphases in this area further down the line.

It also has to be understood that there will always be an advertising revenue factor to these decisions.  Google have been promoting the use of multiscreen websites through their AdSense feature for some considerable time.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that with the increase of mobile usage, the effectiveness of unoptimized ads within non-mobile-friendly websites needed to be addressed.  Google Adwords would also benefit from increasing numbers of mobile friendly websites. Think about it. If your website fails to convert mobile visitors, would you opt out of any mobile specific ad display options? Yes, you probably would.

❝ As small business owner, does it really matter why they made the changes? Probably not. What matters most is how these changes relate to your business, now and in the future. ❞

Lets Focus On What We Do Know

Instead of trying to speculate what’s going on behind closed doors, let’s take a step back and look at what we do know.

  • Your customers should always be your #1 priority.

    It doesn’t matter if you use your website to find and attract more customers or to provide valuable information to support your customers. All that matters is that you put them first. Ask your customers and they will tell you the same thing!

  • More people are using mobile devices to search online than ever before.

    We still use desktops at work and to a lesser extent at home, but think how about your own internet habits have changed over the last few years. Your customers are searching the web while shopping and even while they watch Tv. When someone visits your website from a social network, it’s more likely to be on a phone or tablet. So being mobile friendly is huge.

  • Google cares about its visitor experience, even if you don’t.

    We use Google because it does an awesome job of locating the information we’re looking for, any time from anywhere. It’s not perfect and if there was a search engine that did it better, we’d all start using them tomorrow. It sounds heartless but its true and Google know it. That’s why they invest so much time, money and effort into providing the best results possible. Because they live and die by visitor experience they are always looking to improve.

The first two points should be all you need to convince you on the importance of a mobile friendly website. But if you’re still on the fence, think about this for a minute. Is it too hard to imagine that Google would eventually attribute even greater value to websites that compliment their own usability standards. And when old (mobile unfriendly) website starts to affect Googles ability to sell advertising, there will be no surprised faces when those sites quickly disappear into obscurity.

So After All That. Do You Really Need a Mobile Friendly Website?

Whether you update your website for your customers benefit or because Google say you should. If your website plays an active part in your business, your site needs to be mobile friendly. It’s as simple as that.

yes to mobile friendly web design

Clearly Yes! So if you have not already made the move to a mobile friendly solution and you have a business related website. You should definitely make the change sooner rather than later.

On the other hand, if you have a hobby site that is not monetised in any way then there’s no immediate rush. You’re site clearly isn’t going to disappear overnight. But then again why wouldn’t you want to make you pages look great when viewed on a mobile device? Who knows, you may even decide to make your hobby into your business on day.

Need Help?

If you’re thinking about making your website mobile friendly there are many more benefits than just keeping up with Google and improving your visitors experience that you get from updating your website.

We develop business websites that put you in control. With minimal training you can add, edit all aspects of your website, from creating new pages to updating contact information and forms.  You don’t need to know how to code or have any technical knowledge at all.  We do all the hard work organising the structure and design to make sure it looks amazing  to ensure you make the right first impression for your visitors.

If you’d like to know more you can request a free website review or call us at +66 872 827 483 and see what we can do for you.

What is your take on Mobilegeddon?

Do you think the mobile friendly update was to improve visitor usability or to protect and improve advertising revenue on mobile devices? And does the reason change the outcome in any way?

How to get more sales from your website

Is Your Website Mobile Friendly? Countdown to Mobilegeddon!

Your Website Must Be Mobile Friendly by 21st April

The Countdown Is Over! Make sure your website is Mobile Friendly.

For a long time already Google’s algorithms have factored in mobile compatibility into their search results, but on the 21st April there’s a big change coming. So big, some are calling it Mobilegeddon!

Beginning on April 21st, Google will no longer list non-mobile websites in mobile search results

Source: Google Webmaster Central

Currently around 60% of all searches are made on a Mobile Device of some sort, so it only makes sense that Google want to make sure that the results they display on these devices are mobile friendly.

How Does This Affect Your Business?

If you currently get most of your traffic from mobile devices, it’s going to have a dramatic effect. If your website is mobile friendly and your main competition is not, that’s going to be very good for you. However, if the shoes on the other foot and it’s your website that is not mobile friendly then you’re going to experience a significant drop in traffic.

Check to see how much mobile traffic you are getting on your Google or other Analytics Tracking Dashboard. For GA go to Reporting > Audience > Mobile > Overview, the combined number from mobile and tablet is what you could be losing if you don’t have a mobile responsive website.

Zineb Ait Bahajji, a member of Google’s Webmaster Trends team, was quoted at SMX Munich as saying that the new mobile-friendly algorithm change will have a greater impact on search rankings than Panda or Penguin did in the past.

Google have kindly provided a quick tool to let you know if your website is mobile friendly or not:

Mobile-friendly

A Special Note For Phuket Businesses

The 60% average quoted above will be considerably higher if your customers are tourists. Desktop PC’s in hotel lobbies have limited appeal when you have access to the internet on your phone or iPad. Anyway, when was the last time you saw a tourist without a mobile device in their hands?

Most of your customers will not be familiar with the area, so naturally their first source of information will be the internet (via their mobile device). For quite some time now Google have localised their search results for mobiles using the devices location to show only the most relevant results.  There are still many local businesses in Phuket that don’t take advantage of this so that’s also something to address when checking on your websites mobile friendliness.

Do Not Panic! – Not Yet Anyway

Before you start to panic it’s worth seeing where you stand. Google’s Free mobile-friendly test

  • Ensure the mobile version of your site is active and functional. Responsive designs are the most popular, but you can also have a separate hosted mobile version of your site. Google doesn’t have a preference, as long as mobile users’ experience isn’t interrupted.
  • Ensure Google’s mobile bots can crawl your site. If Google can’t see it, it may as well not even be there.
  • Check each individual page of your site on a mobile device to ensure navigability. Just because your home page is mobile friendly doesn’t mean the rest of your site is.

Google have also provided some great information and options for mobile friendly websites. If you manage your own website have a read through and take your options from there.

Time To Take Action!

If your website isn’t Mobile-Friendly then you probably haven’t updated your site in quite some time, which likely means old and outdated content too. So if the tools above have raised a few red flags, then it is time to hit the panic button. This will be a big shift for a lot of websites and if yours is more than a couple of years old, now is the time to upgrade your site.

But there’s a silver lining! Instead of feeling like your hand is being forced to update your website. Take the opportunity to re-activate your online presence and embrace the chance to really make a difference to your business. Your website is the most cost-effective communication tool you have if it’s done right.

Modern websites are mobile friendly and have the benefits of being easy to update yourself, plus they look amazing  and will easily outperform your old website in usability and create the right first impression for your visitors. Well, ours do!

Click on the free website review button above or call us at +66 872 827 483 and talk with Stephen.

How to get more sales from your website