Rest in Peace or Responsive Integrated Platform for your website – the decision is for businesses to make! At least that’s what Google intends to achieve with its upcoming mobile friendliness update.
As a digital marketer strategist and trainer, I hear many of my clients complaining that they are constantly getting pushed by Google to make their websites mobile-friendly. Should we be taking these warnings seriously, they would ask.
My response: With so many websites already being penalized for providing bad mobile experience to their users, do you really think ignoring these budges is still an option?
No, is right! In order to resurrect from, what I call R.I.P – Responsive Integrated Platform – businesses need to make sure that their websites are optimized to provide a better mobile experience to smart phone users. If not, they should get ready to say R.I.P – and this time I mean “Rest in Peace” – to a huge number of their website traffic.
Google has been urging web masters for quite some time now to make their websites more mobile friendly. However, by 21st April 2015, every business will begin to feel the impact on their click-through rates via mobile sites, after the search engine giant fully implements its mobile-friendliness update.
How would you feel when you type your business-specific keywords in Google, only to find out that all the links that turn up in the first few pages of search belong to your competitors? Sites that are not configured for mobile devices as per Google’s mobile optimization guidelines, will be witnessing a drop in their searching engine rankings and thus their click-through rates. Needless to say, lower click-through rates are equivalent to lost customers.
Wondering why would the search engine giant do such a mean thing to you? Well, Google isn’t holding any personal grudge against you. Rather, it has a good enough reason to go ahead with this update and roll it out globally in the next few weeks!
Recent stats show that a major chunk of internet users are now switching to smartphones to search for local information, view products and services and make online purchases. Australia is no exception.
According to one study, in January 2014, smartphone penetration as a percentage of the total population of Australia is 65%. Among those users, the ones searching for local information via their phone are 90%, while those researching products via their phone are 78%. Finally, smartphone users who have made a purchase are 41%.
Based on browser statistics from Stat Counter, in 2014 mobile browsing usage has gone up to 15% of the total internet browsing usage in Australia, From 7.75 in 2012 to 11.85 in 2013.
Still, all too often the site you are trying to open is taking too long to load on your smartphone. When it does, you see links so small that they are hard to read let alone being clickable. You try zooming the text and then scrolling sideways to read the entire content. And if you are not too eager to learn about that same product or service, you end up quitting the page altogether, angry and frustrated.
A poor user experience not only reflects badly on the website but also the search engine that showed it in the results. Thus, Google is hoping that the better mobile experience users have, the more likely they are to use the search engine to look for products and services.
Why so? Largely because online businesses are at a potential risk of getting the quality of user-experience from site perceived as an extension of the quality of their services and products.
Unfortunately, making mobile-friendly websites require a lot of investment in terms of time, money and planning. You cannot make it happen over-night. Additionally, businesses also need to make sure that the new mobile-friendly site blends in well with their overall online marketing strategy, to become profitable for them.
Businesses will now have to adopt a purely customer centric approach focused on providing enhanced experience to mobile users, if they want to avoid losing site traffic as a result of the mobile friendly update.
The good news is that the penalty is only one part of the story. With Google officially debuting, “mobile-friendly labels”, in November 2014, sites having mobile-optimized algorithms will be getting a boost in their rankings for providing a great mobile experience to their users. Thus, Google is not just penalizing bad page designs but also rewarding those who are taking its recommendations seriously and are adopting some of the vital web design trends likely to take center-stage in 2015.
So what does this update mean to you? I think it’s a great opportunity that businesses can leverage on to improve their search engine rankings and become more competitive in their niche. If you are not mobile-friendly already, I suggest that you re-think your digital strategy or get a digital marketing expert do it for you, before its already too late.
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