Mobiilegeddon - 6 Steps to Making Your Website Mobile-Friendly - Vickie Siculiano - Say WOW Marketing

It’s not too late to make your website mobile-friendly, even if you didn’t do it by Google’s April 21st deadline. Mobilegeddon isn’t the end!

In this episode, I am excited to share with you some of the really important stuff that you need to know about Mobilegeddon, and 6 easy ways to get your website mobile-friendly.  Now what’s Mobilegeddon? Well, back in February, Google announced their  new search algorithm which would reward mobile friendly webpages. This was really something that was going to be a big change and they were going to give publishers of websites enough time to make their websites mobile friendly, hopefully.

On April 21st,  they finally launched that update. It’s potentially going to give a  boost to any webpages that are mobile friendly in Google’s mobile search results. There’re a lot of questions that have been asked about this. I’ve been asked this in my Facebook group that I belong to. I wanted to make sure that I was able to give you as much information that I find out about and some great resources that are going to help you take hold of what you need to do to be found.

The question really is: who’s it really going to impact?  This algorithm is going to impact really only people that are searching on mobile devices. Now, this is not for tablets, this is really for smartphones. So guess what? This is really going to impact your website search results on smartphone devices. Okay? Not tablets.

People are searching like crazy on their smartphones wherever they are. I know I’m guilty. It’s just going to impact those mobile searches and it’s going to give a ranking boost to pages on websites that are mobile friendly. In the mobile search results only. This does not affect desktop search results, so if your website visitors are searching the web on their desktops,  they’re not going to be affected.  It’s not going to have any impact on your desktop rankings. Not going to affect your tablet rankings, only mobile smartphone devices.

How you really going to know if your website is mobile friendly? There’s really only a few ways to see if you are ranked as mobile friendly. You can take a mobile friendly testing tool, I’ll give you the link to that below. You can see if you can pass the test; but Google is going to need some time to update their index. So it’s not going to happen right away.

If you just fixed your website and you made it responsive, more mobile friendly,  Google is not going to pick it up right away. If you go to Google Webmaster Tools, and you look at their mobile usability reports, they’re going to be a little delayed. So just be aware of that, even if you’re showing up in search today, it doesn’t mean that down the road a few days, or maybe a couple weeks, it’s still going to be there.

You’re better off being ready for when those rankings are really going to be affected by the updates to the search algorithm. You know that when you update your website, Google doesn’t always pick it up right away. You have to wait a little bit, this is the same way. If you have your mobile website ready to go and you’re just hoping you’ll be picked up, it’s not necessarily going to happen. This is something that you should just take steps to make action for right now.

One thing to know about this algorithm is it’s going to be on a page-by-page basis. Even if your website pages aren’t mobile friendly, some of them can benefit from the algorithm. Just make sure to have your web developer or yourself, update the pages that are most important so you know that you’re ready for when that algorithm is really going to kick in and everything is going to update. Okay? One thing to know about this, that I learned, is that that algorithm is real time. Google has to crawl all of your webpages to see if they’re mobile friendly and it’s going to take a few hours to over 72 hours and see if you do everything right for Google. To show everything as mobile friendly. So, if you have a big site, it could take up to a month; but again, I can’t tell you exactly, but I do know that algorithm is real time.

The reason that Google is hot on doing a major change for SEO or Search Engine Optimization, is that they really want to make a shift in their mobile search algorithm and boost the rankings of sites that just make the effort on being mobile optimized. It makes a better platform for search on a mobile device, especially for Google, because they want to stay in the lead in search, right?

Facebook took a big share of their search efforts, they’re doing everything they can. As more and more people are using search, by their mobile devices; I know I do, I wonder if you do, if you find your customers are finding you more through search. Google wants to do everything that they can to make sure that the highest ones are also the ones that have this mobile friendly presence. If you want to check it out on the Web Master Central Blog, they discuss the algorithm in a really, really cool way.

They broke it down, it’s all in English if you’re not tech savvy, it’s really easy to read. I’ll just read you an excerpt here,

“As we noted earlier this year, today’s the day we begin globally rolling out our mobile friendly update. We’re boosting the ranking of mobile friendly pages on mobile search results. Now searchers can more easily find high quality, and relevant results where text’s readable without tapping or zooming.” Right? Like pinching or squeezing, “Tap targets are spaced appropriately, and the page avoids unplayable content or horizontal scrolling. While the mobile change is important, we still use a variety of signals to rank search results. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal, even for page with high quality content isn’t mobile friendly, it could still rank high if it has great content for the query.”

That’s important to recognize that they’re still looking for high quality content to serve to people who are searching, but in the long run it might hurt you if there’s somebody else with really great, high quality content who could be competing with you. If you can do everything you can do now, to make sure that your site is mobile friendly, you’re going to be way ahead of the game.

I was doing some interesting research on this topic of Mobileggedon and what it means for you and your business; I wanted to see if it was really going to affect everybody across the board, and equally. It is important to make sure that you’re moving towards mobile friendliness of your website or at least some very important pages on your website that people visit. Namely the homepage, maybe your menu, if you’re a restaurant.

There was this 2013 study done on Techcrunch, that said two-thirds of the Fortune 100 were not even ready for mobile search. After running some tests this year, the progress on it has been very slow, and only half, about 52% of the Fortune 500 companies operated mobile friendly websites ahead of the Google update. They were aware and they made efforts to make sure that their website was at least mobile friendly. There is this shift to mobile,

Table of the top 20 on this list of the Fortune 500 that were moved to mobile or not

Table of the top 20 on this list of the Fortune 500 that were moved to mobile or not

The top one was Walmart, and they are mobile friendly. Second Exxon mobile, mobile friendly; Chevron mobile friendly. Now these are huge brands, but it’s important to see what’s going on. Some of the websites that were not mobile friendly of this Fortune 500 was Fannie May, United Health Group; these are big brands, these are not your average local run of the mill business that want to be found on Google so that you come into their business and do business with them.

It’s a good look at it and this way you can see.  It’s important to note that these big brands across the board really can’t ignore the shift to mobile. It’s just consumer behavior, just the way you and I work and operate, we want things easy, we want things now; and if we have our smartphone devices with us wherever we go, that’s how we’re going to look for stuff. I do it.

 

 

There was a very interesting study also done on eMarketer, I love eMarketer graphs, about the number of smartphone users around the world; that it’s going to surpass 2 billion in 2016, and it’s going to come close to hitting it by the end of this year. There are a ton of smartphone users over the globe, and it’s just going to keep growing and growing. There is not evidence that it’s going to be slowing down.smartphone users and penetration worldwide - emarketer

This shift to mobile has impacted everybody. Even Google.  The story that this tells is that ultimately they’re trying to make it easier for you, so that they’re going to be benefited by the return on the advertising dollars that advertisers are going to be screaming to spend to reach you as you search on mobile.

Ultimately, Google wants to really force the website owners to make their sites work better on smartphone devices. They’re just not making web searchers happier, they’re making sure that Google can retain their position as a useful service in our digital age of mobile.

It’s going to be good for you as a site owner too if your website is mobile optimized, because you’re going to get a number of visitors to your smartphone sites contributing to a definite portion of your websites revenue. Particularly if you’re eCommerce, you can’t avoid it.

Now I will tell you this, I’ve done restaurant marketing, totally and passionate about it. I’m a big foodie, I love food photography, and I’ve helped restaurants get noticed by doing some online marketing for them. Not just in the vacuum, but also with a lot of other things like search engine optimization, social media particularly; but especially the website.

Ultimately, if you’re a diner,  you’re going to look for a place to eat when you’re out and about. Restaurant search is huge on a smartphone device. Websites for restaurants definitely need to be optimized. It’s not that easy for every website owner to just make their website mobile friendly, but there’re certain steps that you can take to make sure that that happens.

What can you do?   Now if you’re not a website specialist, and you’re a website owner, which you probably are, there are some things that you can do fairly simply to at least know what to do, or you can tell your website developer what needs to be done, or to look into, to make your website mobile friendly. I believe that knowledge is power and as a woman you don’t always get the answers that you want unless you’ve done the research first. By doing some research I hope that this helps you, too. Okay?

1.  Install a mobile plugin (WordPress) 

If you have a website that is on a WordPress platform, like mine is, then you can easily make your website into a mobile friendly version in a few seconds with this plugin. Okay, now there’s lots of plugins out there, but it’s a great place to begin. It’s free and you can customize in several ways to really best suit what your website is made of.   I want you to look up … WP Touch, check it out if you’re on WordPress, let me know what you think, I’ve heard some really good things about it. It’s really a good way to start just make your WordPress site mobile friendly.

2.  Create smart, concise navigation

Another thing that you can do is create smart navigation for your website. That means your menus. A thorough navigation, or menu system way for your website visitors to navigate through your website is really key for making your site mobile friendly. Now, when you have a menu, think of how concise you can name your tabs; because if you have a long name or 2 words in a particular tab, it’s going to be kind of tough on a mobile device. Think about it now, you’ve got a smaller screen, less space for text, if you can make it one word; that might be even better. A better option for you. If you’re not sure of what you can do, look at a competitor website. See what … Is in their navigation and particularly, I always believe in competitor research. Don’t reinvent. Just take a look at what’s already been done successfully. See who’s coming up in search on a mobile device. Take a look at the navigation on their menus, and see how you can move to including that particular type of content of course … With your own well written, and concise content that is high quality. Take a look at the navigation and see how you can really make the text more concise. That’s what I call “smart navigation”.

3.  Write clear, absorbable content

When you’re writing for your website, you want to make sure that you write clear content, and always think of it, this is a smaller screen. You want to grab your reader attention very instantly, even more so than before. Not so much that they’re distracted and … In the blink of an eye they’re going to see something shiny and divert their attention, but they’re on their mobile devices. You don’t know where they are. You want to make sure when you’re writing you’re very valuable content, it’s very clear, okay?

That clear content that is going to get right to the point is also going to make sure that your readers can absorb and digest your material on their mobile devices. Even when they’re distracted. That happens all too much.

4.  Don’t use too many images

It’s just a fact, but to make your website mobile friendly don’t use too many images, okay? I love images, but make sure that they count and you might see that you’re going to get less traffic on your mobile device searchers, because they have to look through so many images.

Limit your use of images to about 1 or 2 per article. This way your articles are going to be more, read more, by those people with mobile devices. Images can really get a point across or break up text, but think of somebody reading your content on a slow connection with this tiny little screen. Okay? You don’t need a lot of images. I would say you definitely need images on your website, especially mobile friendly websites. For people with a Pinterest plug, as I do have on my smartphone, so you can easily add pictures to your boards on Pinterest; and your visitors can as well.

5.  Try to eliminate use of Flash or Javascript

I can’t emphasize this point enough. Don’t rely on Flash or JavaScript on your website.

It’s very important to understand that not all mobile devices are going to be able to serve up either of these technologies. Particularly Apple. You cannot see any Flash. Okay? Even if somebody can, it tends to be an extra step or 2 actually view the content, so stick with the plain standards for HTML or CSS. Your website developer will definitely know to make sure that your mobile friendly website cannot have flash on it. The search engines … So I cannot recommend that enough. Do not put Flash on your website if possible. Okay? Also JavaScript. Especially for restaurants, and I speak highly of them because I have good experience with restaurant marketing. That there are some businesses that think that having a menu that is very attractive on a desktop. Right? With Flash and … It’s all sexy.

Well it’s going to look like a big black box on Apple device, namely iPhone … Some search engines as well won’t see it. You’re going to be in trouble if you’re going to have this beautiful menu with text on it that just wants to be scooped up by the search engines and you’re not allowing them to see it. Really avoid that if you can.

6.  Practice good web design

My last tip for you, is to really make sure that you have a good design. In the non-mobile version of your website, you can get away with a few problems that are … More visible and obvious in the mobile version, because you’re in a smaller space, things are just going to look bigger and magnified.

Think of the white space around your paragraphs and words. If your stuff is so jammed up that people, when they’re reading it, they’re really uncomfortable, they’re not going to hang out for very long. Okay? That’s what we want, we want your pages to be sticky. Which means that your web pages are keeping people hanging around for long, it’s going to rate you up in the search rankings, right?

Break up your text by making it scannable, break up your paragraphs into nice bite sized chunks; I do this with my show notes. Particularly because I know that people are listening to this podcast on their mobile devices. If they just want to click over into Safari or whatever browser they’re using, they can just open it up and see the notes that are relevant to that podcast, with some links that might help.

So again, just check out  WP Touch that free mobile plugin for WordPress to get you started. It’s probably going to be the least amount of effort for you, and getting started with a mobile friendly website, and I really hope that these tips helped you today. Mobilegeddon has been scary for a while, for a lot of people in online marketing, particularly myself. I’m not a website developer, but I do know a lot of tricks of the trade to get people on your website, to get you found, and to get them to stay on your website because you just have irresistibly juicy content.

RESOURCES:

1. Google Developer Mobile-Friendly Test:

https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/?utm_source=wmc-blog&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=mobile-friendly

2. Google Webmaster Blog Post on the new Mobile-Friendly Algorithm:

http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2015/04/rolling-out-mobile-friendly-update.html?m=1

3. WP Touch WordPress Plugin for transforming your WordPress website into a mobile website:

https://wordpress.org/plugins/wptouch/

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