From Google: "Starting April 21st, 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 on our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices."
So the proverbial "other shoe" has dropped. For the previous year Google has been telling business owners to make their websites mobile friendly. Now they are telling you that if your site is not mobile friendly, you will be significantly penalized in the search rankings.
Why are they doing this?
"The very best marketing comes from observing consumer behavior and inserting your message into their behavior."
More than 50% of web traffic now comes from mobile devices - smartphones and tablets. We have seen this trend for months in the YMCA websites we have built. Now Google is confirming what we have suspected all along. Across all businesses, consumers are using mobile devices to access websites more than PCs.
Mobile marketing will dominate website access because consumers are in control. Simply put, consumers are buying mobile devices, not PCs.
PC sales peaked in 2011 at 350 million units worldwide after 29 years of sales (since 1983). Seven years after launch, smartphones and tablets have sold more than 1.2 billion units. So Google is merely following consumer behavior.
It is important to realize that Google's primary mission is to provide the very best search results to consumers. And if consumers are using mobile devices, Google is going to weight their search results based on this consumer behavior. If consumers do not get the actionable results expected (access to the information they want on the device they prefer), they may go to one of Google's competitors - Yahoo or Bing. So Google has finally decided to weight the search results to favor mobile friendliness.
So how do you make your site mobile friendly? You have two options. One is to build a second site that is mobile friendly. Google has said that it will provide rankings for "mobile only" sites. However, as the operator of this mobile site, you will now have to support two websites - twice the work. There is an easier way.
The preferred method is to build your website in responsive design. Responsive design means that your website reads the request to view your website, determines the device the consumer is using and then reconfigures the website display to match the device. It forces the website configuration to present the version of the website that looks the best on that device.
Think of the movie Transformers. And you only have one website to support. Thrive only builds websites in responsive design.
April 21st is a watershed moment in digital marketing and it will be remembered for years to come. The largest search engine in the world has formally announced that the battle for internet access has been won by the mobile consumer. Those that embrace this truth will win and continue to see their websites appear in the Google Search Results. Those who ignore it will drop out of the search results and suffer the subsequent decreases in site traffic.
Do you want to know if your website is mobile friendly? Here is a easy way to tell. Pull up your site on your smartphone and see if you can easily read the phone for your YMCA. If you can't, give us a call.
Do you need help with your mobile strategy? Give Thrive a call at 419-776-7000 or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are here to help!