There has been a lot of chatter recently about Google’s search algorithm updates. “Each year, Google changes its search algorithm around 500–600 times. While most of these changes are minor, Google occasionally rolls out a ‘major’ algorithmic update (such as Google Panda and Google Penguin) that affects search results in significant ways,” Moz explains.
With each significant update, business owners quickly wonder how these changes will impact their findability on the web. It makes sense. As the adage goes, “What is your brand? Whatever Google says it is.”
As Wired contributor Michael Hendron explains, “Findability is the quality of a piece of information to be conveniently and intuitively ‘within reach’ on the web when needed. In the hyper-competitive world of online commerce, ensuring that your findability is better than your competitors’ can be the difference between success and failure.”
Mobile Takes The Wheel
At TSG, we’ve been considering the implications as well. We are particularly interested in how these changes will impact mobile marketing. Google’s April 2015 update, dubbed Mobilegeddon, which ranks mobile-friendly sites higher in search results, has been top of mind. Google aims to put the most relevant site and best user experience front and center.
With this in mind, does your company website make the cut? Consider three important factors when it comes to consumer behavior and accessing your company website via the mobile web.
First, mobile device usage is as high as it has ever been. “Nearly two-thirds of Americans are now smartphone owners, and for many these devices are a key entry point to the online world” (Pew Internet Research).
Second, higher cell phone use naturally means more customers are searching for websites via their mobile devices. According to the Mobile Technology Fact Sheet compiled by Pew, “As of May 2013, 63% of adult cell owners use their phones to go online.”
Lastly, mobile users are demanding a better experience and leaving sites that don’t provide fast and easily consumed content.
These three elements together solidify the importance of making your company’s mobile presence a priority to remain relevant and competitive.
Everyone is going mobile, and we aren’t necessarily “out and about” when using our tablets and mobile devices. According to Nielsen, 80% of tablet use happens at home and 84% of smartphone and tablet owners use those gadgets when they’re watching TV. (Mobiforge)
To that end, consumers mean business when using a mobile device. They no longer accept sub-par experiences when surfing the Internet on their phone. When they encounter a website they have trouble accessing via mobile, 46% will not return in the future. If your website acts as an online sales channel, or your digital store, you will need a great mobile experience to keep customers shopping, engaged and coming back.
Steps Toward a Mobile-First Future
A predominant strategy we employ with clients today is the development of a responsive website, meaning the website will adapt to the device a customer is using. Responsive web design (RWD) ia a smart technology and can work for most companies who don’t need a separate, custom mobile site.
The upside to developing a responsive site is that everything is built around the same code, which means SEO and overall maintenance is streamlined. When you’re making changes, updating the site or enhancing on-page SEO, it is done once instead of on two different sites. Another benefit of a responsive site is that all of your content is made available for users across devices. Many times, when companies opt for a stand-alone mobile site, the content is pared down, in lieu of the fact that users still want an easily digestible content rich environment.
By understanding how your customers use your site and how you want to craft the experience, your developer can help you determine the best direction for your business.
If you’re unsure how mobile currently impacts your company website, take these three steps to get started:
Reference Google Analytics to gauge how many of your website visitors are using mobile devices. Then ask yourself if you are willing to lose that audience if your mobile experience continues to be sub-standard.
Visit Google Developers to make sure your site shows up in search results and take a quick mobile-friendly test to analyze your primary URL and report if the page has a mobile-friendly design.
Engage a digital firm to assess your specific situation and mobile design needs. Having an expert help you navigate solutions will save time and money.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Christy Whitehouse is a partner at The Summit Group, a Salt Lake City-based agency serving digital clients both domestic and abroad. She has twenty years of experience in figuring out smart technology solutions wrapped within providing the ideal consumer experience aimed at solving today’s marketing changes. Connect with @summitSLC on Twitter.
© YFS Magazine. All Rights Reserved. Copying prohibited. All material is protected by U.S. and international copyright laws. Unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this material is prohibited. Sharing of this material under Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International terms, listed here, is permitted.