On April 21, 2015, Google updated its website ranking algorithm to include mobile friendliness as a ranking factor. You may have heard this update referred to as “Mobilegeddon” or the “Mobile apocalypse.” All clever names aside, my industry colleagues are not merely fear mongering in the hopes that every company will suddenly jump to build a new mobile friendly website. They are banging the same drum they have been for the last several years; mobile matters. With this update, Google makes it clear to everyone just how crucial it is for a Web property to maintain a current, optimized and user-friendly mobile experience.
Why 70kft is not afraid.
70kft offers holistic strategies that merge digital marketing, design, public relations, social media and dynamic content best practices into one approach. 70kft’s best practice of mobile-first Web architecture and design allows us to build an experience that attracts and engages a company’s desired target markets and personas. Our focus has always been on:
- Responsive or adaptive website design
- Avoid software that is not cross-device friendly
- Provide a mobile and desktop user experience that everyone can enjoy
- Maintain spotless information architecture (avoid pesky broken links and 404s)
- Optimized content hierarchy
- Stay up to date on industry trends
- Track everything
Why the mobile update?
You see, Google doesn’t just roll out updates to keep people like me on their toes, the search engine is constantly tracking and studying the behavior patterns of its user base. Nearly two-thirds of Americans view websites via mobile devices. (That’s exactly 67.5% of the U.S. search market share for those of you keeping track.) Google is making this update because it knows that the U.S. customer base is not just going mobile, it is already there.
In the United States from December 2010 to December 2014, smartphone usage increased by 394% and tablet usage increased by 1721%. These combined devices now account for over 60% of all digital media time spent. These potential customers look for product information, business hours, directions to store locations and contact information. Essentially, these consumers beg for your information so they can buy your products. Google is simply saying it is now time to provide these individuals with a robust and high quality experience.
What is Mobilegeddon up to?
This update is working to ensure that mobile users encounter a relevant and high quality content experience in mobile search engine results pages (SERPs). To put the enormity of Google’s announcement and update into perspective, at any given time, there are hundreds of ranking factors that dictate how your website ranks (desktop and mobile) within the SERPs. This is just the first time that Google has publicly announced what exactly the new ranking factor is, and has provided a toolset and best practice checklist. This transparency is Google’s way of conveying that it is crucial to acknowledge the power of the mobile experience and the importance of mobile friendliness.
Users will automatically disengage if their mobile expectations are not met. These expectations include page load under two seconds, fewest clicks possible to vital information, and design that accommodates mobile screen sizes. 70kft strongly advises brands to anticipate and target users’ frustrations by creating customized content for mobile devices. Let’s take a look at what Google is considering “mobile friendly.”
- A mobile version of your website may be responsive, (preferred by Google and 70kft) adaptive, or a m.mycompany.com version of your site.
- Your website’s text must be readable without tapping or zooming.
- Tap targets need to be spaced out appropriately.
- The mobile version of your website does not contain non-playable content (Think back to the Flash vs. Apple battle) and does not utilize gimmicky scrolling techniques.
What does this means for the vast majority of websites?
Well, if you have rested easy thinking that the desktop version of your website is all you need, it means you will continue to miss out on viable mobile leads and conversions. Some time ago, noting the growing importance of mobile, 70kft declared a responsive-first philosophy for website development. In our opinion, it is crucial to design websites that are not only mobile friendly, but also customer-converting machines.
Google’s ‘Mobilegeddon” is much more than an update, it’s a digital wake-up call hyper-focused on the future of the online user experience. As an integrated agency, we recognize the value of building for the future. That focus enables us to provide our clients with the powerful tools they need to achieve online success.