Some people have called it Mobilegeddon or Mobilepocalypse, but I prefer Mobilepalooza.
Maybe it’s because I have fond memories of seeing Pearl Jam, Ice Cube and the Red Hot Chili Peppers at a Lollapalooza in New Orleans. Maybe it’s because I would rather point out the opportunity than the potential for harm, which is real.
So let’s be clear about this, the changes to Google Search that go into effect Tuesday are big. Small-business owners who are too busy to pay attention will end up in Googlearctica, pushed to the last pages of Search, frozen in the ice age of March 2015.
Starting today, Google Search will give priority to mobile friendly sites when users are on a smartphone or tablet.
“It is probably the biggest thing (Google Search has) done in the last five to seven years,” said Jeremy Sisk, president of Xperience4Higher, a marketing and consulting firm in Durham.
What that means, Sisk said, is that if your website is not mobile and you’re competing for a higher rank on Google Search against a bunch of other websites that are mobile, the mobile friendly sites will rank higher when a person searches for them from a tablet or smartphone.
“They are actually going to rank the websites that have a mobile-enabled kind of layout higher than the ones that do not,” he said.
When I read about the change, I got worried. Just a few days before, I read a report by Endurance International Group, which had surveyed more than 900 U.S. small businesses. About 78 percent of those companies said they don’t have a mobile solution or mobile app for their business.
The Google Search change underscores the value of having an effective and responsive website and the reality that more and more consumers are using their phone to connect with companies and make purchases. (Hence, Mobilepalooza.) So, think of it as an opportunity to take a step back and really evaluate your website.
When considering going mobile, a Google report on building a website for the multi-screen consumer recommends starting with defining your company’s value proposition.
“What you offer users, what they expect from you, and what they can achieve at your site should all fit together,” it states.
You should also understand what mobile users see on the different screens and use tools, such as Google Analytics, to measure and evaluate activity.
If the data shows that mobile users visit one area of your site, consider putting it front and center.
“On the other hand, if parts of your site have high mobile bounce rates (users who arrive and then leave immediately), you’ll want to try to fix that in your new design,” the report states.
Google’s guide for building and testing mobile sites: http://bit.ly/Mobilepalooza