The online world has been buzzing this week with the news that Google is changing their search algorithm effective April 21, 2015. Dubbed #mobilegeddon, the change impacts how websites are ranked in search results. If your site is not mobile-friendly, your search ranking will be affected.
You’re probably thinking:
- How is this going to impact my business?
- What should I do?
- How soon should I make changes?
- What the heck is this going to cost?????
So what is a site owner to do?
The first step is to determine if you’re actually at risk.
Use the MOBILE FRIENDLINESS TOOL. Google will actually test your site (FREE!) and let you know if you’re good to go or if you have concerns to address. And if you do have issues, they’ll let you know how to fix them. Isn’t that kind of them?
If your site comes up as mobile friendly, you can probably skip the rest of this post and knock a few more items off your to-do list.
If your site is showing as not being mobile-friendly, let’s get to work…
Mobile is important. But every business is impacted differently.
Mobile devices are part of our daily lives. We check our email, connect on social media and search for information on a smart phone or tablet – more often than on a desktop computer. This is a major update from Google and it can’t be ignored. If your site is not optimized you’ll not be found – fixing the issue could be a great opportunity for your business!
To fix or not to fix? That is the question.
When you’re a small business this is probably not a choice to consider. It’s a game of priorities – development initiatives vs. company initiatives. Do you fix your website so people can find you, run a marketing campaign with proven results or do you hire your next best employee?
The star employee or promo campaign might be the difference between you keeping the doors open and lights on, while updating your site to be mobile friendly might just maintain the status quo or a short term improvement.
It’s a tough call and only one that you can make. Do the research, know where your sales are coming from and decide accordingly.
How much traffic do you actually get from search?
If you don’t know where your traffic is coming from, it’s time to learn. This will help you decide whether to fix or not.
Welcome to Google Analytics. Hopefully you’ve got it installed and it has the data you’re after. Navigate to Audience > Mobile > Overview and looking at the breakdown of desktop / mobile / tablet.
This is a very high level review. There’s a much more advanced way to analyze but it’s beyond what you’ll have patience for in this post. If you’re really geeked out and want to know – contact us.
If 30% of your site’s traffic is coming from mobile, and organic traffic drives revenue for your business, then it’s a priority for you to address the mobile-friendly issue
What to do now: you have choices
- Prioritize creating a mobile friendly user experience on your own schedule
- Dedicate resources immediately to fix the problem – time and cost are not even a consideration to implement a lasting solution
- Put in band-aid fixes to pass the test.
- If you are using WordPress or GoDaddy’s Website Builder, it’s fairly straightforward to implement a mobile version. Check your theme’s template and options. If one is not available look at Wptouch.
- Force Your Page to Fit:Uses the <meta name=”viewport” width=device-width initial-scale=1> tag appropriately. If you don’t know what this is, Google it or ask your developer.
- Audit your page styling (CSS and HTML) for fixed-positioning, larger fixed-size images, and font sizes. Use media queries to remove or restyle elements that are too large or small for a mobile device.
- Google: Remember those test results you got when you did the mobile-friendly test – that’s your to-do list. Because you need even more to do during the day.
If you haven’t curled up fetal in the corner, here are simple next steps.
- Know your traffic numbers: review your site analytics to get an idea of the actual business impact mobile traffic currently has on your business
- Use the tools listed above to determine if your site has mobile usability issues.
- Find out what you can get fixed when, and for how much. Consult your current web guru – or find a new one.
- Determine the best course of action for your business as a whole as you prepare for the shift to Google’s mobile friendliness algorithm.
Whatever you decide to do, be mindful that the percentage of mobile visitors is on the rise, and there is no sign of mobile growth slowing down. You should have a long-term plan for developing a mobile friendly experience sooner rather than later.
So what are your thoughts or fears with this update by the world’s largest search engine? Comment below.
If you need help with your site, please let us know – we’re here to help!
Resources: Search Engine Journal