Did Mobilegeddon Just Put A Dent In Your Website Traffic?

Today is Mobilegeddon – it’s all over the news!

And, if you’re anything like me, you’re wondering what the heck that means.

Those Google phone searches you and I love to do while waiting for the traffic light to change or standing in the grocery check-out line, will no longer provide the same results.

Thanks to our incredibly smart digital-marketing team, I learned about this Google move yesterday and asked them to download their insights to you today in the PR Insider.

Without going into a lot of hard-to-understand technical language, the bottom line for us non-geeks is that Google tweaked its search algorithm in a way that changes the ranking order for your website when users search from their phones.

As it was explained to me, websites with a mobile-friendly design will move up the pecking order. Those that don’t meet the right criteria – large texts, easy-to-click links and the capability to resize to fit the screen – will be pushed down several notches.

That’s huge! So huge that someone dubbed it “Mobilegeddon” (wish that someone had been me) and that name stuck, surfacing in TV reports, newspaper headlines and, yes, Google searches.

And it’s no wonder. Businesses with not-ready-for-mobile websites risk losing customers. For example, if I search for an accountant, those with mobile-friendly sites will appear first on my screen, while I might need to click through a page or two before I come across a mobile-unfriendly site.

I am happy (and hugely relieved) that EMSI has always embraced mobile friendliness with our websites, so we should be fine. We want to make it as easy as possible for anyone to find us and we want visitors to our website to have a good experience, whether they come to us from a laptop, a desktop or a phone.

But I know that not every business took mobile visits into account when they designed their websites, and Google’s latest move could have serious repercussions for them.

Just how serious? And what should you do to put on your friendliest appearance for Google? Our marketing director Will Candler and marketing strategist Jay York – who know much more than I do on the subject – offered their thoughts.

Will instantly confirmed my hunch that this was serious business for businesses.

“This is one of the few instances where there is a change from Google, and if you aren’t on top of it, you will be penalized,” Will says.

He and Jay say that some businesses – especially small ones – that don’t have a web-savvy staff may have been caught off guard by the emergence of Mobilegeddon. Businesses with a point person who understands and follows web-related developments likely were better prepared.

“Knowing about it is half the battle,” Jay says.

Frankly, Jay adds, at this point any company website should have been mobile-friendly already, especially when you consider that about 60 percent of online traffic comes from mobile and more than 80 percent of smartphone users conduct Google searches on their phones.

“Google wants those people to have a better experience when they’re doing searches,” Jay says.

If your website wasn’t mobile friendly in time for Mobilegeddon, don’t despair just yet. This is a fixable problem and Will and Jay have a few suggestions.

First, if you don’t know already, check to see if your website meets Google’s criteria for mobile friendliness. That’s easy enough to do because Google stands ready to help with this simple exercise. Just visit Google’s Mobile Friendly Test tool and type in your website’s URL. Google will then analyze the site and within moments provide an answer. With any luck, your answer will be something like, “Awesome! This page is mobile friendly.” (This tool is new, so it could be a little quirky. You might want to check two or three times, just to make sure of the results.)

If your website is among those deemed unfriendly, it’s possible a fix could be easier than you would think. For example, WordPress websites are built based on themes and many of those themes can be made mobile friendly simply by clicking a box. So if you have a WordPress site, it could be you at some point inadvertently made your site mobile unfriendly, and can quickly undo that. Google also has other suggestions if the results for your website are negative.

Ultimately, you may want professional help in making sure your website is the mobile-friendly delight that Google now favors. A web expert is much better prepared to know the action steps you need to take to achieve the desired results. You may be a great entrepreneur and a go-to person in your field, but that doesn’t make you a web guru. Just as in the past we suggested that your social media campaign is best left to professionals, the same goes for the design and function of your website.

In the world of digital marketing, of which social media is an important component, new things are happening nearly every day. That’s why it’s so important to have a professional team around you, whose job it is to stay on top of the constantly changing digital landscape. Without them, your brand can suffer.


Written by Marsha Friedman, CEO & Founder EMSI


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