What Does 'Mobilegeddon' Mean for You?
With mobile search gaining ground, Google is giving preference to mobile-friendly websites
By Richard Rutigliano, PriMedia Inc.
Many businesses have had their websites “in the shop for repairs” this spring after yet another change to Google’s Internet search mechanism. “Mobilegeddon” is the alarmists’ buzzword for the latest rule changes, because they pertain specifically to mobile search via smartphone.
For restaurants and other businesses that are highly dependent on mobile search, the rule change demands immediate attention. Those businesses get an important chunk of their business from consumers on the go, and they can’t afford to fail in mobile search.
The matter is less urgent for most Hauppauge Industrial Association (HIA) member companies. As the research firm ComScore explained, “Categories such as Photos and Maps are more often than not used on the go, lending themselves to heavy mobile usage, while the Portals and Business/Finance categories comparatively index much higher on desktop devices.” Given the relatively low rate of mobile search for business categories, the risk of missed opportunities is low, but that is only part of the story.
HIA businesses need to care about mobile search because it is an important and growing segment of Internet search as a whole. Studies indicate that consumers are using their smartphones more often for search, even if they are at home or in the office with ready access to a desktop computer. By improving your site’s performance in mobile search, you make it readily available to the full spectrum of prospects and customers, instead of only to desktop-bound searchers.
Preparing Your Site
There are two primary ways to make a website mobile friendly: Create a mobile version that is specifically designed to display on smart phones, or build a site using Responsive Web Design (RWD), which allows a site to resize dynamically to fit the user’s screen size. Google says it recognizes both approaches to mobile friendliness.
Both mobile-specific and RWD sites are widely used, and both have strengths. With a dedicated mobile website, a company can design pages specifically for mobile devices and know exactly how they will look on the smaller screens. Responsive Web Design, on the other hand, is a technique that enables a web developer to create one version of a site that will adjust its layout dynamically to fit whatever screen the user has.
Over time, the fluid RWD format is replacing fixed website design. At PriMedia and other web shops, designers are using RWD and have already transitioned many websites. If you are considering a new site, RWD is an excellent choice. You sacrifice some of the control that you have with a mobile-specific site, but you’re only maintaining one site, so making updates is simpler, and there are no concerns about duplicate costs.
Google has shared a website analysis tool that companies can use to evaluate their sites. Simply visit www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/ and enter the URL for any of your web pages, and Google will auto-analyze them for mobile friendliness. It’s also a good idea to search for your company using the Google search engine on a smart phone. If your pages come up without a “mobile friendly” label, they will not be advantaged in Google mobile search.
If you’d like help making your websites mobile friendly, PriMedia is happy to help. Simply contact me at 800-796-3342 or firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.