Are You Ready for Google's "Mobile Friendly" Update?
If you are shipping Direct-to-Consumer, you need a significant online presence, which means search engine optimization is an important part of your marketing plan. Any major changes to how search engines function will have an impact on who visits your website, meaning that you will need to make adjustments to your marketing strategy or risk losing page rank and visitors. Part and parcel, of course, is your mobile strategy. One significant development just went into effect at Google that will particularly influence how you reach your mobile-based customers.
A friend to all mobile devices
Google announced in February 2015 that they were overhauling their search algorithm as it relates to mobile devices. Calling for "mobile friendliness," the new addition essentially requires a degree of compatibility when sites are viewed on smartphones or tablets. In other words, Google wants to ensure they're showing results that are actually viewable on these devices. This new algorithm went into effect on April 21st.
"If the site has enough mobile-based code, Google will add a 'Mobile-friendly' tag."
What this new algorithm - which is likely a new crawler as reported by marketing blog MOZ - does is check for key characteristics on a given site. What are being sought out are design provisions that make a site readable, clickable and aesthetically acceptable. If they exist in the code, the crawler indexes it and raises the page rank of the site. The lack of these features lowers the page rank. If the coding of the site is acceptable, Google will add a "mobile-friendly" tag next to the search entry.
Interestingly, as Search Engine Land reported, this function won't have any impact whatsoever on organic search from a desktop. This means that you'll now have two separate, yet equally important, page rankings to monitor.
"About 30 percent of all organic search traffic is coming from mobile."
Stepping away from the desktop
If you're wondering why this is such an important change, consider this: marketing executive Mitul Gandhi explained in a presentation for the Search Marketing Expo in March that 30 percent of all organic search traffic is coming from mobile devices. More importantly, these gadgets dominate Internet use now, with comScore reporting that they make up 60 percent of all Internet traffic. Increasingly, your customers are likely looking for you from either a smartphone or a tablet.
With this in mind, the new search algorithm change, which affects practically every website, will require you to focus on the mobile side of your online wine store. If you want to see if your site is currently mobile-friendly, Google offers a tool that will look over the site's mobile friendliness and confirm it. However, if it doesn't have mobile friendliness, it will offer tips on what you need to fix.
In any event, having a mobile friendly site will put you at a significant advantage. By directly improving your mobile SEO, you're able to grab the attention of a more technically advanced audience.
If it isn’t now, your site should be responsive (meaning that it renders well across multiple devices.) All of our responsive sites fit well within Google’s new algorithm. If you need to update, please be sure to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.