Originally aired March 19, 2015. Watch it here.
Big news, everyone: Google is doing a BIG update and warning us about it ahead of time!
“Mobilegeddon” is here! And it’s slated for impact on April 21, 2015.
What the heck is Mobilegeddon?
To quote Google:
Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.
In English, please: The bottom line is that on April 21, 2015, Google will start to “ding” websites not deemed “mobile-friendly” by not giving them any mobile traffic. These non-mobile-friendly sites will essentially be bumped off mobile search results.
In other words: If someone does a search on a mobile device, even if you normally rank #1 for that search, if the site doesn’t pass the test, you won’t even show up in the search results!
But my audience isn’t on mobile
Um, wait right there.
If you are a B2C (selling to consumers) company, we can’t even have this conversation. If you think that anyone is actually surfing the web at home on an actual computer (outside of Sage’s mom and maybe some computer geeks)? Not so much—they are on their tv, on their iPads and tablets, on their phones—people at home are checking Twitter, Facebook, shopping for patio furniture and clothes, finding places to eat, looking for a new house: all on their mobile devices, not their desktops. If you are a B2C company, just skip right on down to the “How to Fix it” section, because this conversation is over.
If you’re company is primarily B2B, though, you may legitimately think that your primary audience isn’t using mobile so much. That nobody is looking for industrial widgets on anything other than their work desktop. Let’s talk about that.
These are insights taken straight from research done by Google regarding the changing dynamics of the B2B world.
MYTH #1: MILLENNIALS AREN’T MAKING B2B BUSINESS DECISIONS
REALITY #1: NEARLY HALF OF ALL B2B RESEARCHERS ARE MILLENNIALS
If you’re not familiar with the generation known as the Millennials, they were born after 1980 and most are “digital natives,” in that their world has always included the internet. They do things differently than their elder counterparts, and when they do research, they go straight to Google.
MYTH #2: B2B MARKETING SHOULD TARGET THE HIGHEST-LEVEL EXECUTIVES
REALITY #2: B2B RESEARCHERS WHO ARE NOT IN THE C-SUITE INFLUENCE PURCHASE DECISIONS
Many B2B companies think that their marketing should focus on catching the eye of the C-level exceutives in the companies they target. What we’re seeing is that this isn’t the case at all. Executives don’t have time to do the initial research on potential new solutions; that’s what they have assistants for. And these assistants are millenials (see Myth #1), who are influencing the purchasing decisions of these companies in a big way—based on information they have gathered online.
And in many cases, information gathered from their phones and tablets, NOT their desktops at work. For instance, many companies now limit what kinds of sites can be accessed from comoany networks, so often employees are doing their research on their phones. Are you starting to see how not showing up in a mobile Google search could have a devasting impact on your marketing?
42% of researchers use a mobile device during the B2B purchasing process. Of those, there has been an impressive 91% growth in use over the past two years throughout the entire path (instead of just at the initial stages of research).
Not surprising, then, these numbers. So if you’re not on the mobile search results, you’re not in contention for those companies’ dollars. They don’t even know who you are.
Just to drive the point home. We don’t have to tell you that 91% growth is HUGE.
And don’t forget that post-purchase phase! All too often, it can get lost in the shuffle, and this is where many businesses can make or break repeat business and buzz. For example: if someone is at home, and gets an email that their travel has been booked, the natural response is to click on that link and check it out. If your site isn’t properly optimized for mobile, you bet that person’s experience is not going to go well, and next thing you know, your competitor has the rest of their business for the year.
But my traffic comes from social media, not search
Even if search isn’t a big driver to your site, you should still be concerned, and here’s why:
1. All of that traffic could go away tomorrow, thanks to anything from Facebook algorithm changes or a total shutdown of Twitter (it’s been known to happen, folks!)
2. If I’m clicking to your site from a social media site, it better look good on mobile, because that’s what I’m using to access my social media. And I won’t go back if it’s a bad experience. We have all been there.
Bottom line: if you’re getting audience from social, you’d better be optimized!
How do I Know if my Site is Ready?
First, check and see if you pass Google’s mobile-friendly test. It is page-by-page, but if have Webmaster Tools enabled, it will check your whole site.
If you pass the test, then you’re good to go. (It’s actually a bit underwhelming)
You can also check for yourself, on your desktop, by shrinking the window and see if it changes at some point, especially the navigation. If it does, you should be fine; if it doesn’t, read on.
So how do I fix it?
If you use Worpress, and don’t have the time or ability to really get in there and do a true fix, then check out the WPtouch mobile plugin that can make your website mobile “enough.” Be careful, though, this is only a bandaid, to get past this deadline and give you some more time to get your game together, because what it does is it takes your site and shoves it into a responsive design. So it enables your site to pass the test, but it changes things to a basic set-up, which could affect your traffic and conversion; therefore, not the best long-term solution.
If your site doesn’t pass the Google test, then you will get a “Fix it” Guide, but be warned–this can get complicated pretty quickly if you’re not a developer or aren’t on a CMS (preferably one that’s aready mobile-responsive).
If you’re not sure what to do, or need help figuring out what you need to do, you can always ask us!
What does a good mobile site looks like?
Mobile friendly sites:
- you don’t need to zoom in and out to see stuff
- became one column
- images are the right size
- navigation pops down and you can see everything in it
- responsive: responds to your device, by adapting to the size of your device
If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, this is what you get when you look at it on a phone:
Mobile un-friendly sites:
- this is their whole site
- it’s not responding to the fact that the window is smaller
- you have to zoom in and out
- the links, navigation, and buttons are too small to really use
- it still technically works, but it’s not a good experience
- not suprisingly, this site didn’t pass the test
- We, users, are all on everything–all kinds of devices.
- Everyone needs the experience to be good for all of the devices.
- If you think people aren’t using your site on mobile, you’re wrong.
- And even if you have something complex that needs to be accessed on the desktop, there’s still information that people are looking for on mobile that should be optimized.
- You need to have something by April 21!
- And if you don’t know what to do, call us, or use this link to get in touch.