Google is about to change their algorithms again – and this time it’s a biggie. As of April 21st, Google will be “…expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal… (making) it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.” This is very bad news for anyone still running an old-fashioned website, since your search rankings on Google are about to take a nosedive for anybody using a smartphone. You have become the needle in the haystack.
Why is Google Doing This to me?
With more the 50% of all searches – and rising – mobile devices are now the screen of choice for the majority of web users. This trend is what’s driving Google’s ‘improvements’ – and it’s something that you need to be paying close attention to, since it will affect how well you can reach your customers on a smartphone or tablet (i.e. where they are likely to be these days).
You Might not Know it, but –> The Web is Going Mobile – Period!
The days of the static website are numbered, and so is your company’s web presence if you haven’t already taken action. Luckily, there are reasonably-priced solution that can not only meet your needs, but also provide you with a number of powerful tools to improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO), as well as better integrate your Social Media channels and provide you with a visually striking new website to boot.
Responsive Websites Are The Key to Success
Thanks to powerful website Content Management Systems (CMS) like WordPress, designers can now create websites that automatically change to fit whichever screen they are being viewed on. These Responsive frameworks are rapidly becoming web standard because they provide a far superior experience for all users – especially for those doing searches on mobile phones and tablets only (that is approx. 35% here in the US).
Mobile Means Less Reading
What was once a brief read on your laptop becomes a scrolling nightmare on your smartphone. This is causing a seismic shift in how content needs to be delivered on mobile devices – since it no longer matters how compelling your messaging is, if you can’t get people to stop their damn scrolling and read it.
Concise and readable copy, bold headlines, eye-catching images and a whole lot more (embedded video and social media to name a few) are what people now expect when they go online. Luckily, responsive websites have risen to this challenge and offer a wide range of advanced technology (like Parallax scrolling) and tons of specialized (and often free) plugins to create visually striking websites on limited budgets.
Social Media is a Vital Component to Your Ranking
More bad news for older websites comes from a related change Google will be making. Social media feeds can now be integrated with Google Webmaster Tools, boosting search rankings for a website, based on social interaction. This change is a potential game-breaker for sites that have deployed an integrated social media strategy, since the number of likes, shares and other interactions you generate can now count directly towards your website’s search rankings.
Winds of Change at Gale Force
Web design continues to evolve at a breakneck pace. Exciting designs and features that cost a fortune a few years ago are now within your reach thanks to things like responsive design frameworks and a robust ecosystem of SEO tools and other plugins that growing around CMSs like WordPress. It’s a great time to take advantage of these recent developments – especially in light of the critical changes Google’s just made to their ranking strategy. In any case, you’ve been warned.
If you’d like to discuss what your options are in this brave new world, feel free to contact me for a free consultation. I’d love to help.
Sven Schaefer is the President of Tangram Media Inc. an Online and Social Media Marketing company located in Pinehurst North Carolina. Tangram helps businesses regain control over their online technology. They will implement a tailored and goal driven / strategized online model that is tailored to the individual companies’ needs.
Thanks to Joachim Ravoth for the contribution