If you’ve ever lost thousands of dollars, I bet you can remember it vividly. I bet if someone heisted a very large sum from your bank account, you’d notice.
Well, if your income depends on developing new business or acquiring customers, and you're the not-so-proud owner of a dated website that isn’t mobile-friendly, that’s exactly what’s happening to you as we speak.
You just haven't realized it yet.
While I generally refrain from the fear mongering of the evening news teasers, this time, you’d better listen up.
Over the past three years, we’ve been been running around like members of the Doomsday cult, proselytizing and warning clients to update or replace their websites to utilize “mobile-friendly", responsive design. For the ones that have heeded our advice, it’s a move which has paid off — clients have seen substantial gains in mobile and search traffic after launching responsive websites. As we previously announced in January, today Google will finally begin penalizing websites for failing to offer a mobile-friendly experience. The gloves are off, and the search engine giant ain’t messing around. You can run a test on your site now to see if it passes.
Those organizations without a mobile friendly website that have enjoyed high ranking on Google are going to start dropping off the first page like flies. But since you didn’t take our word for it the first time, why would you listen to us now? Let’s use the ol’ scientific method and you can play along and see for yourself. A search on Google on my mobile phone for “Commercial Roofers” in Louisville, as of 4/21/15, yields the following organic results:
- American Roofing (mobile-friendly)
- American Roofing (mobile-friendly)
- Carlon Roofing (mobile-friendly)
- Fackler Roofing (NOT mobile-friendly!)
- Commonwealth Roofing (mobile-friendly)
- Highland Roofing (NOT mobile-friendly!)
- Yellow Pages (NOT mobile-friendly!)
- Thumbtack (mobile-friendly)
- Louisville Commercial Roofers (mobile-friendly)
- Better Business Bureau (NOT mobile-friendly!)
I’ll update you as Fackler, Highland, Yellow Pages and the BBB drop off the first page on mobile search results.
The potential business impact of this move is so huge, even the mainstream press is covering what’s being called “Mobilegeddon.” Hell, it was even on the cover of USA Today. Some sources estimate up to 60 percent of the top websites could take a big hit in terms of traffic, but the ramifications are real for all websites, regardless of size.
One of the biggest misconceptions is that the change to Google’s algorithm will affect all searches. That isn’t the case. It won’t affect desktop searches, only those performed on a mobile device. For now, at least. But it doesn't take a genius to predict that very soon “mobile-friendly” won’t be enough, as the the line between devices being labeled “mobile” or “desktop” are blurring. I’m telling you now, that true responsive web design — the kind that can adapt to an ideal format on any modern web browsing device — is going to be the only way to go. This is the tip of the iceberg.
However, that leads us to the next biggest misconception: that mobile searches — and mobile traffic — don’t make up a significant part of your audience. In fact, as of last year, mobile internet usage is greater than desktop usage. If you’re missing out on that mobile traffic, particularly for local businesses, you’re missing out on a huge business opportunity.
Mobile-friendly design allows your website to appear in mobile search engine results. If your website doesn’t incorporate responsive design, consider it a mission-critical priority. Even if you’re convinced your customers aren’t surfing the web on mobile devices, the data no longer backs up that assumption. Fret not, some people were convinced the world was flat. And that Kim Kardashian should be famous. I hope you find solace in that knowledge.
Even if your website offers a solid mobile experience, expect competitors who haven’t already updated to do so very soon. You’ll need a plan to maintain your current competitive edge. After Mobilegeddon, you may need to invest in content marketing, or consider the growing demand for online video. Your specific business, industry and consumer target will suggest the best strategy.
After a year of preparing our clients for the coming Mobilegeddon, we’re already looking towards what the next big challenge may be. The world isn’t changing, it’s already changed. At OOHology, we pride ourselves on keeping clients ahead of the curve. Consider us your Nostradamus, your Oracle at Delphi, your Tarot card reader for all things branding, digital, and marketing.
But we still don’t have any idea who is gonna win the Kentucky Derby.