27 Apr Why Even Enterprises Need to Be Concerned About Mobilegeddon
Whenever Google changes its search algorithm, the Earth seems to shift a little. The search engine optimization (SEO) tactics and strategies that marketers deploy to ensure their sites remain highly ranked are forced to move like tectonic plates. If they don’t move in the right direction, the whole foundation of a company’s SEO program could crumble, leaving their site off of Google’s page one rankings or, worse, blacklisted.
Certainly, the ground shook a bit this month, when Google adjusted its search algorithm to give more credence to mobile-optimized websites for people searching on their smartphones. The adjustment quickly gained the moniker “mobilegeddon” – which pretty much gives you a sense of how people feel about this change. As such a name hints, consternation, and a sense of panic followed the change, as marketers sought to figure out how this latest change would impact their Google rank.
In order to better determine that, it’s good to know the facts. First, this update only impacts results on smartphones, not tablets or laptops. Second, it applies to individual pages, not entire websites (so, in theory, you could have one or two pages that, in Google’s words, are “mobile-friendly,” which could rank higher than the rest of your non-mobile optimized site).
Also – and this is important to note, so as to quell much of the agita – Google writes:
“While the mobile-friendly change is important, we still use a variety of signals to rank search results. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal — so even if a page with high quality content is not mobile-friendly, it could still rank high if it has great content for the query.”
In other words, even if your site is not optimized for mobile, you still have a very good chance of ranking highly if you follow some of the other guidelines that Google uses to determine its rankings – especially high quality content. It’s important to note that this is not content that is stuffed to the max with keywords or links; this is content that’s relevant to a subject matter or product, highly readable and engaging, and that users will find interesting and informative.
That’s not to say there isn’t reason to worry, though. Google notes, “if your site’s pages aren’t mobile-friendly, there may be a significant decrease in mobile traffic from Google search.”
The problem is that, according to TechCrunch, nearly half of the Fortune 500 do not have mobile-friendly websites. Simultaneously, the number of searches done on mobile devices now exceeds those completed using a traditional PC, as the following comScore chart illustrates:
Given these numbers, it’s clear that companies of all sizes and in all verticals need to optimize their websites for smartphones. Those are the devices that people are using to find information – not just about mom and pop stores, but about products and services they can procure for their companies.
While the cynical may say that Google’s change is meant to spur more ad revenue from mobile search – and they would certainly have a point, since that’s where the company makes most of its money these days – it also signifies a catering to consumer preferences. For many people, their iPhones and Android devices are the most powerful computers they currently have, and they love using them for just about everything. Companies need to become aggressive and focused in regards to their mobile optimization strategy, or risk being nowhere to be found.