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“Mobilegeddon” is Not What You Think

Posted by Jeff Davis on Thu, Apr 23, 2015 @ 11:27 AM

Regardless of what you have read, “Mobilegeddon”, Google’s new search algorithm, is not going to put millions of companies out of business this week.

“The very best marketing comes from observing consumer behavior and inserting your message into their behavior.”

In all fairness to Google, they have been warning people of this change for awhile now. Consumers have been rapidly moving away from desktop devices towards mobile devices for more than five years.  

Google is simply reacting to consumer’s behavior. They are telling businesses that it doesn’t do you any good to own a website that consumers can’t read.  Since providing the very best quality search results is Google’s primary mission, they are saying that providing mobile friendly results is important to the consumer, so it is important to Google.

Try visiting a website that is not mobile friendly on a smartphone.  It is impossible to interact with a non-mobile friendly website on a smartphone.  Thrive does a lot of work with local YMCAs. When I talk to a local Y, one of the tasks I asked them to do is to visit their website on a smartphone and simply try to find their phone number.  You can’t do it.

And don’t think that consumers are not using smartphones to visit the web.  eMarketer reports that in 2014 the average consumer was on their smartphone for 2 hours and 51 minutes - with non-voice activities.  Moveable Ink recently reported “that 66 percent of emails were opened on either a smartphone (47.2 percent) or tablet (18.5 percent) in Q1.”

And while I do not see Google’s change spelling immediate doom for the average YMCA website (and other small to medium businesses), it is going to hurt over time.  As consumers search for “fitness centers, weight loss programs, family friendly play lands, swim lessons, spin classes” and all the other programs the YMCA is known for, mobile friendly sites are going to appear above the listing for the local YMCA.  And the listing for the non-responsive YMCA sites are going to be pushed further and further down until eventually they are going to start appearing on page two. The kiss of death.  Unless all your competitors already have mobile friendly sites. If so you can start kissing now.

Mobile versus PC Sales

Google’s decision to reward sites that are mobile friendly is firmly based on observing consumer behavior.  Simply put, more people are accessing websites today from mobile devices than desktops.  In 2007 smartphones were launched when worldwide sales of PC’s were 300 million units.  By 2011 the sale of mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) rushed past the PC sales of 350 million units.  Since then, the annual sale of PC’s have declined and the sale of mobile devices has passed 1.2 billion units annually.

A quick look at your site through the eyes of Google's Mobile Grader will show if your current site is mobile friendly.  If not, it will report that the text is too small to read, links are too close together, the content is wider than the screen...

If you do not rush out and make your site mobile friendly, the world isn't going to end, no matter what you may have read.  But as time passes, you will notice less traffic overall as competitors sites are displayed on mobile devices above yours. Making your site mobile friendly is as easy as building a mobile “skinny” version of your site containing the most important features or as robust as rebuilding your site in responsive design.   

The choice is yours, but ignoring the consumer’s rush to mobile devices is not the decision you want to make.  

Topics: YMCAs, YMCA website, Google, mobile, Mobile Marketing


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