This time next month we’ll be celebrating a new Google algorithm.
Although, for many, celebrating is probably too strong a word. A lot of people hate the idea of new algorithms popping up. For a lot of marketers, it’s Google rewriting the rule book meaning a lot of their time and money goes out of the window.
The best example was with the release of Google Penguin, the search giant’s link-spam algorithm that floored millions of businesses that invested heavily in links of varying quality.
Except, you can see where Google’s coming from. It needs to constantly refresh itself to bring back the best results for its users, punish those trying to cheat the system, and – crucially – earn lots of money.
Google doesn’t follow trends. It sets them. And its latest mobile-friendly algorithm (set for release on 21 April) has got people that haven’t invested in mobile marketing worried.
Mobile marketing isn’t an option anymore. It’s a necessity.
Do you think the mobile algorithm update is good for businesses or is it an unnecessary shake-up on Google’s part? Let me know in the comments section below.
A little about the mobile-friendly update. I’ve touched on it previously over the last couple of weeks, but let’s dig a little deeper.
Google updated its mobile algorithm late last year to highlight in its search results whether a site is mobile-friendly or not for searchers. Now it’s going one step further by giving a rankings boost in mobile search to websites optimised for mobile devices and give an incredible user experience.
On mobile searches, of course. And those clever search types at Google have even come out and said that the change will have a significant impact on mobile search results. In short it means that those who have patiently toiled away on mobile compliance will be smiled upon by Google next month.
Mobile optimisation has always been considered to help with rankings but this is a pretty explicit move from Google to show how important it is, and again indicates a very heavy shift away from the desktop onto the mobile web.
Searchers will not only get better, more relevant results, but results that work incredibly well on their devices and (hopefully) give them a top user experience. Users signed in to Google will also be able to find content indexed from apps.
The mobile-friendly update isn’t seeing the kind of industry panic that was abundant when Panda and Penguin were unleashed. Why? Well, the latter were pretty much rolled out with very little warning, but there’s another reason.
Mobile compliance is simply taken for granted within the industry. The introduction of scrolling websites and sites that are responsive to smartphone and tablet devices have convinced people they’re all set, but there’s much more to mobile-friendliness than that.
Having a responsive site is a great step, yes, but if it doesn’t fulfil your customers’ needs and take them on a relevant journey then can you really claim your digital strategy is mobile-friendly?
Google gives you the ability to test your pages with a mobile-friendly test, so don’t say they never help out. They also have a mobile-friendly guide out there, so the tools and advice are out there for people that want to comply.
The good news is that it’s never, ever too late to become mobile-friendly and gain a mobile presence for your brand. And even better news; do it right and Google will take note, and give people more reason to click on your website when they search for you.
Are you mobile ready or are your customers still struggling to find you? Or is your current digital strategy enough for your needs? Let me know below!
5 mobile-friendly tips
But you don’t want to optimise for search engines, do you! You want to optimise for your customers; people that will discover your site, shop with you, come back time and again, and let their friends and family know you exist.
Search compliance and optimisation is important, but your bread and butter is local customers and your target market. More and more of that market though is using smartphones and tablets to shop and discover, so it’s time to give them a service they can’t ignore.
So what things should you be considering when you optimise for mobile?
1: Site speed
Site speed is an important ranking consideration for both mobile and desktop, but with the ease of use smartphones and tablets provide it’s especially important for keeping users’ attention as well as for search prominence. How long do your pages take to load? Are they fast enough?
2: The user journey
Use Analytics to determine which pages are most popular when mobile users visit your site and have a look at the journey your users are taking. Are they dropping off at specific pages, and why? This is essential for helping boost conversions and improving pages which aren’t doing so well.
3: Mobile-friendly software
Flash is notorious when it comes to the world of mobile. There are still a lot of old-style websites out there designed with Flash in mind, but guess what, it doesn’t work on most mobiles. Sites are switching to HTML 5 (think YouTube) but the underlying point is to use mobile-friendly software that won’t break your site.
4: Creative content
This can fall into the responsive argument. Can people read your text? Is it too small and all bunched-up? It might look great but if no-one can read and figure out what you do then they’re less likely to connect with your brand, and search through the site to discover more of your content.
5: Conversions that work
Your website exists to make you money online. Is it easy for your shoppers to discover and learn about the items you sell, and is it safe for them to make a purchase? And how easy is it for them to buy; can they fill in forms easily or is it a massive slog?
Be friendly to your mobile audience and Google will be friendly to you. Official!
If you’d like to learn more about mobile marketing and how to generate leads for your business contact us today.