Mobilegeddon: Google Urges Website Owners to Upgrade
Google mandates all websites must be mobile-friendly in order to be included in mobile search results as of April 21, 2015. Mobile-Friendly means that a website is instantly viewable and legible on mobile devices.
There is a little menu button that you can click and pow! You see a list of all the website’s pages. It’s easily navigated on a mobile device vs. the old way where you had to enlarge and jiggle the page around to see a page and then go back and angle it just right.
NON-Mobile-friendly businesses have been scrambling to comply and want answers to questions. In order to get the exact answers, we suggest that you read from the Google Webmaster Blog HERE which provides very precise direction and answers to all your questions.
In short, the Google mobile-friendly mandate means that unless your website is mobile-friendly, which means it’s built for viewing on all devices, you have some changes to make. Now.
An unknown and yet unverified number of websites will no longer appear in mobile search results. Some online and news sources said that it would effect 40% to 50% of all Fortune 500 websites.
Small Business Window of Opportunity
Forbes said wisely that smaller businesses will benefit by the ability to quickly make the change and upgrade by acting immediately vs. the larger businesses that have so much decision making and internal chaos slowing things down. In other words, act now and change fast so that you’ll be at the top of Google’s Good Little Websites List.
All website owners are affected by this demand to comply to change websites, so here are a few things to consider and to help understand why Google can and will make changes like this. But don’t think too hard or too long. You have to change and now is better than later. Never is not an option if you want traffic coming to your website from mobile devices.
What is the Mobile-Friendly Mandate?
Google mandated that websites must be mobile-friendly (meaning a website has to be built with the ability to show up clearly–without enlargement or finger-moving–on a mobile screen) if they want to be included in mobile phone, tablet and iPad search results.
Mobile=smart phones, tablets, iPads. Any device that you can walk around with easily as opposed to having to view on a desktop or a laptop computer.
What Does Mobile-Friendly Mean?
Test a website by CLICKING HERE and typing in your favorite website. Mobile-friendly means that the website was built so that it formats itself to the size of the mobile screen that you are using.
If a website is not mobile-friendly, it means that the page has to be enlarged by the use of two fingers or a mouse in order to enlarge it and to see it clearly. Mobile-friendly websites are those you can see instantly without having to enlarge the page to read it or use your fingers or mouse to expand a page manually.
Why Did Google Force the Mobile-Friendly Issue?
The short answer is that Google runs an online search business. Google has a commitment only to its users who are searching on Google. Google is not a friend of businesses. Google has capitalized on the one thing that everyone wants to do: Google something.
It has made every business its client. Not a bad business structure, unless you’re a small business struggling to find a marketing budget. No matter to Google. Google’s only jobs is to make every search the best experience possible for a Google user.
Businesses know that technology is fluid and that technology changes constantly. Google has lowered the boom to let you know just how much it means business: Change or be excluded.
There is no other answer. No, it’s not fair. But business is not fair and the best and biggest businesses will be taking notice and get a new understanding for the search engine process. Most are probably scrambling right now to find a company who knows how to upgrade, change or rebuild its website so that it’s mobile-compliant.
Google made this change because Google is a search engine and it found that most searches were done via smart phones, iPads, and tablet devices. This is forcing businesses to comply to make the search result process easy for Google users.
Google Users Will Not Be Happy–At First
No doubt, users will NOT be pleased when looking for their local pizza place, directions to many businesses and for websites that may not turn up in Google search results. The effect will be immediate. There will probably be a lot of money spent by companies to upgrade to mobile which means that the team that offers to upgrade to mobile-friendly had better know what they’re doing.
Most searches are local and directions are commonly searched for. If you can’t find the local business you’re looking for, you may have to go old school and use your fingers to expand the mobile screen to see its pages clearly.
Which Websites Are Affected by Mobilegeddon?
If your website was built in WordPress prior to 2013, it is highly likely that your website will require an upgrade and a partial rebuild. Mobile technology was just beginning in late 2012. By 2013, WordPress website themes were beginning to offer mobile-friendly options.
If your website was built in WordPress prior to 2012, your website will need a complete website rebuild and an upgrade will not be possible. The technology was not available yet for the thesis or theme at that time. You were ahead of the curve by building a website at the time, but mobile-friendly wasn’t an option.
There are so many technological reasons why you should be upgrading your website and mobile-friendliness is only one.
The other reasons your website should be updated include:
- Your content is very old
- Your pictures need updating
- Your videos need updating
- Your SEO (search engine optimization) has changed dramatically and needs changing
- Unless your webmaster or SEO/SEM team has been contracted for the past several years to upgrade and rewrite SEO, SEM and content, you’re in need of updates throughout your website
- You should get maintenance-level updates to plugins, security and WordPress versions annually
- Your website is like a car and needs updates and planned maintenance annually
Why Do I Have to Keep Updating My Website?
Technology changes every day. If you want to remain competitive, you’d better get moving and begin writing new copy, shooting new video, engaging in social media, writing articles, getting new pictures for your website. You should get maintenance for plugins, security and WordPress annually
The Marketing Square is Pushy
We always tell clients that Google is not a friend of business. That Google’s committed to the best USER experience, not the best business experience. A person who searches on Google is a user and Google wants users to be able to easily navigate without having to move a finger to enlarge the screen size. The user experience should be fast loading, smooth video play, pictures and images that appear, and most important: copy that is updated and relevant to your category.
Will My Non-Mobile Website Take a Hit?
Google’s Webmaster blog reports that desktop and laptop Google searches will not be affected, but that mobile phones and mobile devices on tablets and iPads will be affected. Would it be unreasonable to think that the desktop and laptop searches will be affected soon? Probably.
What this means for website owners is that if you want to be included in mobile device searches then you MUST upgrade your website to make it mobile-friendly. If you decide to ignore the update, which can be expensive, then your website will not show up in mobile searches. You’re missing out on the millions of mobile users.
How Dare Google!
How dare Google force website owners to do this! In a way yes, it seems horribly unfair to a business that built its website before 2013 when very few if any websites were built in mobile-friendly platforms. But most people are dragged into the future particularly when tech is involved.
Google had to do it to keep smart phone users happy with Google search.
This is NOT fair to businesses that may be at the top of the search engines and who have built websites four or five years ago that they regularly post to. Not fair at all. But they’re likely to comply because there is not an alternative. Change or die.
We repeat: technology is fluid. There are millions of people on mobile devices: tablets, smart phones, iPads. There is a generation that is growing up with smart phones only. There are several generations that rely solely on the use of a smart phone for all things Internet.
Don’t trick yourself into thinking that your clientele doesn’t search for your business or service on a mobile device. You don’t know unless you’re taking a survey of all your clients past, present and future as to how they find or found you.
What the mobile-friendly mandate by Google has caused is a technological nightmare for business owners who may not have budget for the rebuild or upgrade. The Marketing Square is working with clients and can do upgrades to WordPress websites or rebuilds.
The best case scenario is that an older website is rebuilt with a new theme/thesis that is mobile-friendly. We can’t tell you when the next Google mandate is coming, only that there will be another Google website mandate to send businesses running to webmasters for help. We suggest to all those who have worked hard on their websites to choose web companies wisely.
It’s one thing to like the owner. It’s another thing to be certain that the website agency you hire is the best at what you need to accomplish online. At the end of the day every business wants to be at the top of the search engine and yes, it’s a race to stay on top. The question is whether you’re in or out? Because if you’re not sure, your competition is on its way up. Ready to get started?