This past April 21 was a date many business owners had been dreading for quite some time. It was when Google’s new algorithm involving mobile sites and which impacts those that aren’t. How much of an impact this change has had on sites is not yet known, but even if it’s minimal, which I doubt, it should get business owners thinking. The time for them to have had a mobile friendly site wasn’t April 21. It was last year, if not even longer ago.
The data involving the importance of mobile is overwhelming
• 64% of people own smart phones and it’s projected by 2017 it will be 92%
• There were 38 billion calls to businesses as a result of mobile searches.
• 60% of US adults now typically choose smartphones or tablets over PCs to find information before buying products and services offline.
• 60% of Yelp’s search volume comes from mobile.
• 40-50% of mobile searches have local intent
As the last statistic shows, for those businesses whose market is local, the importance of mobile is even more important. In the beginning it was restaurants that were being searched most on phones, then travel destinations, and now it’s very nearly every type of business, including those in the home service industry. When people have a leaky faucet or an electrical problem, they don’t hurry to their laptop. They search on their phone.
Google has been laying the groundwork for this by designating sites that are mobile friendly and those that aren't. Now they're taking the next logical step.
With this change with Google means is that if you and a competitor have similar rankings, but their site is mobile friendly and your site isn’t then their site will now rank higher. And if you have a lot of competitors, then you could drop significantly.
So understanding its importance, here are some things to be aware of it your site isn’t currently mobile friendly.
Check First if You Have An Issue
Surprisingly many owners don't even know how their site looks on a mobile device or if they should even be concerned. Google has a tool that you can use to test it first. https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/
Don’t Overpay For Mobile.
One of the growing industries because of this, unfortunately, are webmasters who are charging companies exorbitant amounts to create a mobile site. I’ve heard clients being given estimates of 6500 to create a small site that has no shopping program or anything special. Although there is some debate over whether to have a separate mobile site or a single site that works on all devices (a responsive site), it’s still not worth paying that much for it. Many hosting companies such as GoDaddy and 1and1.com have website builders that work perfectly fine for most businesses. You can either have someone in your company or consultants like myself that can build sites for a fraction of the cost many designers charge.
Google Won’t Banish Your Site
The fear many have and which some unscrupulous agencies have encouraged is that Google will take your site out of their index. This won’t be the case. Here is what John Mueller, a Google spokesman, said about the change. “It’s great to get people motivated to make their website mobile-friendly, but we’re not going to be removing sites from search just because they’re not mobile-friendly.”
If you rank very well for phrases that are competitive, then your site will go down on their list. If you’re a small town dentist with only a couple of competitors your site will likely maintain its first page listing.
What About Google AdWords
Although many people assume that the higher the bid, the better your ad placement will be. Bids are part of this, but just as with their organic rankings, a mobile site is still necessary. Don’t assume that just because you’re willing to raise your bids, your site won’t be affected. It will. Landing Page and the experience people have on it once they click on your ad is one of the determining factors for Quality Score,
Whether you’re impacted by the algorithm change or not, don’t delay any longer on making the
change. If this means paying your webmaster to do it or use some website builder program, the sooner off you make the switch the better off you’ll be. Even if you only see a small impact from this change, it still comes down to user experience. If your prospects are using their phones to search for what you have and end up leaving because of the difficulty in navigating your site on their phone, it costs you money.