Search Engine Optimization

5 Tips to Prep for Google’s Mobile Search Algorithm Update

Get ready, Google is making another algorithm change, and this one is focusing on mobile search. For the past few years Google has been making changes to their search algorithm to create not just the best search results but the best search experience. This latest change will go into effect on April 21 and will take into account how “mobile friendly” a site is when determining site rank, and it will even suppress non-friendly sites from your search on mobile. For retailers, restaurants and others this will be a huge change. Where once a store showed up within the first few search spots, now they could be completely excluded from search results. Even if you are a B2B company and you don’t think mobile traffic is relevant to you, think again, and see if you need to make changes to your website. Don’t forget, mobile is more than just phones it’s tablets as well. Here are five things you should do and consider to see if your site needs to become more “mobile friendly” before the update rolls out.

Are you mobile friendly?

Use the Google Mobile Friendly Test to check whether or not your site is mobile friendly. If your site is not mobile friendly take a serious look at your existing search traffic by device and what the overall projections are for you and for your industry. If you are “mobile friendly” don’t think you are out of the woods yet. Just because you technically have a “mobile friendly” site doesn’t mean it is in good shape.

Take a look at your mobile site…closely

 Hopefully your website was redone recently and you now have a beautifully designed responsive website that looks looks good no matter the device or screen size. If it was redone more than three years ago definitely take a look. Responsive website design has been mainstream best practice for a while now, but unfortunately there are a lot of websites out there that are not responsive. Using the Google Mobile Friendly Test you can see a sample of how the googlebot sees your page. Try using your site as a customer on a mobile device. You might be surprised by which buttons don’t work, how difficult sections are to read and how awkward navigation can get.

Get an idea of your mobile traffic

Mobile trafficMake sure you have all of the data on your users and determine how many searches and sessions you currently get from mobile devices. You might be surprised with how many sessions occur on your site from mobile traffic.  Log in to your Google Analytics account and check in Audience>Mobile>Overview to see how many sessions your site gets from mobile and tablet devices. Even for B2B companies these numbers can be 25% or more of monthly sessions. While you are perusing through the data in Google Analytics take a look at your other metrics like bounce rate, exit rate and pages viewed to get a better understanding of how visitors really use your site on mobile.

Can you capitalize on this change?

Take a look at your competitors, even check their site with the Google Mobile Friendly Test. If your competitors don’t make the change, can you capitalize on that and get more search ensuring your site is mobile friendly? Probably. Just making sure you are mobile friendly could move you up in search rankings. If you have reviewed how many sessions happen on your site with mobile devices now it is time to marry that with your SEO and content strategies to increase search volume.

Opportunity to improve mobile pay-per-click search marketing

Part of being found online includes a good pay-per-click marketing strategy, and in this case specifically mobile search. If you have been frustrated by not showing up on the first page of search results unless you use very high bids, now is an opportunity to make a move with mobile. Mobile ads and clicks tend to be cheaper, and now they could be a little less crowded. In addition, for many searches on mobile the first result or two that show up are actually pay-per-click ads.

Hopefully these quick checks will help you be ready for the latest Google algorithm change. Check out our 5-step Website Redesign Checklist to get a solid plan for your next web project and ensure your website is mobile friendly and a great experience for your customers, clients and prospects.

photo credit: dsc_5693 via photopin (license)

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