Back in February 2015, Google announced they were making another algorithm change. This time they telegraphed it to the extreme and told EVERYONE across the Globe that effective April 21st 2015 , your website had (for the) better, become mobile-friendly if it wasn’t already. That friendliness was soon to become a major ranking factor for your website.
If you have been on the internet or even watched the news this last month of April you might have observed quite a few articles, discussing the merits and of course the sheer horror about to enfold those that did not adhere to this new standard. It was also dubbed the “MOBILEGEDDON”. A lot of the hype surrounding this was in many ways reminiscence of the Y2K hysteria in 1999.
Whats this all about and how does it affect the Small Business Owner ? Lets continue with a basic primer on Google Search.
So what is Googles SECRET algorithm ? It’s all about indexing (being indexed in Google means that Google has discovered your webpage) After indexing your website, Google can show your website in the search results. Google has a specific algorithm that decides which pages are shown in which order. How this algorithm works is a closely held secret. Nobody knows exactly which factors decide the ordering of the search results. These, factors and their importance change often as Google continuously adjust the formula. Testing and experimenting provide a relatively good feel for the important factors and the changes in these factors, something a knowledgable SEO study can determine.
Googles Search Engine Results Page (SERPS)
Google’s result page shows several links to sites which fit your keyword best. These are referred to as organic search results. If you click to the second page, more results are shown. At the top of a search page you will usually find listings with small yellow box with the word “AD”. These are most often, ‘paid’ links. These links are ads; people have paid Google to put these links at the top of the site when people search for a specific term. Prices for these ads vary greatly, depending on the competitiveness of the search term. Similar ads could appear on the right of Google’s search result pages as well. Take particular notice to the term “mobile-friendly” circled in the screen shots below. This is now being used by Google as a component of the organic search placement.
[su_panel background=”#e4e4e4″ color=”#000″ border=”3px none #fff” shadow=”1px 2px 3px #000″ radius=”2″]Search Metrics – the guys who are the global leader in SEO marketing and analytics, have done a fairly deep dive into the relevant impact that Google’s latest change has posed to major business interests just within the first 2 weeks of this change. In their analysis they compare a couple of high-profile companies ….and the developments are interesting. I encourage you to read the article.[/su_panel]
What this all boils down to is rather stark consequences for the business owners that have not updated their web sites. It’s now imperative that small business, moreover local business make themselves ready to handle the mobile world we now live in.
Mobile engagement for local business: If the change by Google wasn’t enough to convince you of the need to “SPEND” some money on revamping your website to handle “Mobile” engagement. Then perhaps you should take a few minutes and watch this informative video about “micro-moments”. Why ? This is a game changing shift in the way our World, and yes specifically LOCAL business should look at how a vast majority of the paying public now seeks out your services.
Working in a small town – “New Port Richey, Florida”, I can see the frustration on local business owners that can’t comprehend why their business has dropped off significantly over the last year alone, and how social media and smart phones “mobile” have changed forever how they must interact with their customers. They are the ones that “don’t get it. Some may have websites they set up some time ago and have never realized a return on that investment (ROI) . Then social media came along and a few even put up Facebook pages but they don’t really know the difference between a Facebook profile and a Business page and now, that’s not working.
They don’t want to spend any money to “fix” what’s not working, so they continue on as their business fades into obscurity. Meanwhile the town leaders who with a few rare exceptions are just as clueless as to how to help their business. Even the City can’t quite get it right on social media marketing integration, in the equation of communicating with the populace. Many projects around the City would gain far better support and participation if they spent some time working this into their dialog. Instead they charge off, in not so dissimilar fashion to “Don Quixote”, whose idealism and nobility are viewed by the modern world as insane, and are defeated and rendered useless by common reality. Today’s 2015 and beyond reality is the competing for attention of a younger populace. It’s they who will be the ones that will help revitalize our challenged downtown areas of rural Amercia.
“If You Aren’t Competing for Attention Where It’s Focused, You are not Competing to Win
Here’s the thing, in these micro-moments you are present or hidden, engaging or disingenuous, helpful or inconvenient. Customers expect answers and direction their way, in th”micro-moments right time, on the device and in the channel they are using.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are a few who do GET IT. All one has to do is Google “Lawyers” and you will see they are using the current “medium” to converse with their current and potential new customers. Most realize the importance of Google Plus and reviews that help push their sites to the top of the organic searches. From a quick cursory review I see that many also understand the new mobile paradigm and are set to take advantage of the “micro-moments”, with “Mobile Ready” showing up the search engines on smart-phones and other mobile devices.
Since I am also a local business owner and do understand the “cost” factor, there is an alternate approach to getting your site to comply with “Googles Mobile standards ”
WPtouch Pro might be your answer:
If your site happens to be one that’s run on WordPress, you’re in luck. You may not require a website overhaul or at least you can put it off for a while, to fully research your options and make sure your integrated with social media marking and SEO standards, as your specific business may require. So what can you do ? You can install a plugin that will allow your site to display a mobile friendly version for smart phones and tablet users. What’s that gonna cost you ? Nothing but your time, if you use the free version. However, I am going to suggest that you purchase the Pro version because of the features that allow for custom landing pages and “Web-App” features that you don’t get with the free version.
WPtouch is a mobile plugin for WordPress that automatically enables a simple and elegant mobile theme for mobile visitors of your WordPress website. The theme also includes the ability for visitors to switch between the theme on your mobile WordPress website and your website’s regular theme.
Go Pro for support and enhanced themes & features: WPtouch Pro includes a variety of enhanced themes for blogs, businesses, and sites with e-commerce, retailers; extensions that add rich advertising options, advanced web font controls, caching, and more; and of course support.
Of course if you need more than this or just want a consult on whats best for your unique business, contact us or inquire about a custom project. Were always here to help out the community if you just have a question or want to know more about how to integrate inbound marketing int your process to help increase leads to your sales funnel.