Seriously, there is no business that can ignore Google and survive for too long.
So when Google recently announced a new set of algorithm, every one paid attention.
This is because Google has a history of killing businesses ….and re-writing history
For example, Google’s Panda algorithm update, which launched four years ago, had an enormous impact on the SEO industry and online publishing as a whole. SearchEngineLand compiled a big list of top brands that were significantly affected by one of such Google’s algorithm changes. It noted that the hit forced some companies to change names, change business models, fire employees and even to go out of business altogether.
One of the most pathetic stories compiled is on SavingSmallBusiness.org (WARNING: Give it a read; but don’t cry)
This time, with effect from April 21st, 2015 Google has a new rule it wants you to keep…….
GOOGLE WANTS YOUR WEBSITE TO BE MOBILE-FRIENDLY….OR YOU WILL BE PENALISED
Google’s new algorithm update is mobile-first.
On its WebMaster Central blog, Google said the mobile-friendly change is important; other media reported that Google’s company representative explicit comment that the impact of this update will be more severe on businesses that fail to comply than the previous updates that I recounted above.
WHAT IS A MOBILE-FRIENDLY WEBSITE
Mobile friendly means that your existing site grows and shrinks with the size of the device it’s displayed on, which is called responsive design. You could also have a separate mobile version of your website, though a responsive site is believed to be better for search engine optimization.
WHAT IF YOUR SITE IS NON-MOBILE FRIENDLY?
If your site’s pages aren’t mobile-friendly, there may be a significant decrease in mobile traffic from Google Search. More than 50% of all searches start on a mobile device. So if your business is not displaying mobile-friendly experiences for your customers, you’ve lost more than half of the opportunities for new business right off the bat. That’s the bottom line.
You might pay more advertising cost too. You will pay higher PPC cost using Google Adwords. This is because Google’s advertising platforms (DoubleClick and Google Adword) will penalize your website based on low quality score.
HOW YOU SHOULD RESPOND TO ALL THESE
1. Do a site traffic audit To Know How Much Traffic You are likely going to Lose.
If you have Google Analytics installed on your website, you can estimate the mobile usage of your website.
One of the first steps you should take as advised byTom Demers (a SEO specialist) is to look at the analytics and review the traffic coming from mobile devices. Where possible, analyze what revenue or soft return is attached to those visitors. Armed with this information, make an informed decision on whether a potentially expensive “rush job” or throw-away short-term fix is worth the cost.
2. Check Your Website Mobile readiness
A. Examine individual pages of your website
To know the status of your website, use the Mobile-Friendly Test to check the status of your entire site through the Mobile Usability report in Webmaster Tools.
B. Have a Mobile SiteMap of your website
- If you plan to use a Sitemap creation tool, you should check to see that it can create Mobile Sitemaps.
- A Mobile Sitemap can contain only URLs that serve mobile web content. Any URLs that serve only non-mobile web content will be ignored by the Google crawling mechanisms. If you have non-mobile content, create a separate Sitemap for those URLs.
C. Do a Page Speed Insight of your website
Google Page speed test is how fast your website loads. It is one of the major criteria used in search engine ranking.
Bear in mind that browsing experiences on mobile devices require more speed.
3. Allocate resources to develop a mobile version of your site.
In case your website fails any of the tests, take corrective actions to commission a complete redesign of your website or specific pages to comply with Google mobile-first policy.
For websites using WordPress, it can be as simple as installing a mobile plugin or a mobile responsive theme. For other content management site, check out a complete guideline to make your website Google Mobile compliant.
When you have completed your mobile readiness, you can expedite the process of indexing your site for increased visibility by using Fetch as Google with Submit to Index, and then your pages can be treated as mobile-friendly in ranking.
So to recap, there are some straight-forward next-steps you can take to determine how you can adjust to Google’s latest algorithm changes.
Regardless of what you decide to do, keep in mind that the percentage of mobile visitors to your website is going to rise and you should have a long-term plan for creating a great mobile experience for your prospects.
The big take-away from this is that if your site is not mobile-friendly, get to work now on it.
Will your business survive this Google Update?