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google algorithm change april 21

On 21 April 2015 Google is rolling out a new algorithm that they say will favour mobile-friendly/responsive websites, thereby disfavouring non-mobile friendly sites and the impact will be “significant”.  Some people are calling it “Mobilegeddon”. Do not panic.

a) It may not be that bad. Remember Y2K?

b) Not all of your site traffic is from google organic (not paid for) search.

c) There is something you can do about it.

Ultimately you do need to get  a mobile-friendly site as more and more people are using mobile and, Google aside, you do want mobile visitors to navigate your site and see your content easily. However, not everyone is quite ready for that  investment in time and funds so here are a few solutions or workarounds to not only help with your search engine ranking, but to give mobile visitors to your website a better experience when you direct them there through your marketing campaigns.

1) Seek advice from Google itself

Use Google’s mobile-friendly tool to check whether your site is mobile friendly or not. You’ll find that if it is not, Google will tell you why and also provide suggestions as to what you might do. For example, if Google detects that your site uses Magento (an eCommerce platform), it provides tips for Magento users. If the tips are too technical it tells you to forward the link to your web developer.

2) Use a quick code fix

Speak to your web developer because there are simple bits of code they may be able to put in place that will, for example, cause the sidebar to be hidden if the site is viewed on a mobile device thereby making the body content more visible. You need to make sure that your site still makes sense though.

3) Create a special landing page

Create a special landing page for your marketing campaigns that is more mobile friendly, and that contains all the important information a prospect might need, plus a message that recommends changing to desktop for the best viewing experience.

While this page might not reformat the menu to a mobile format (the three lines “hamburger” symbol, scrolling or pop-out menu) and resize like a real responsive page, if you keep it a simple single column design with big buttons for easy clicking that are well spaced, it will start to do the job. Obviously, if the person is interested they might want to browse the rest of the site and they might get put off at that stage, but at least you didn’t lose them from the get go.

Turn mobile campaigns off: With regard to online advertising campaigns, remember that you sometimes get the option to choose whether your advert shows on mobile devices or not. “Not” would be a good choice until you do get yourself a mobile-friendly site, but you will be cutting out a lot of your potential traffic.

Individual merit: Google will rate pages individually for the mobile friendliness, so by providing a couple of pages that are more mobile friendly you may also be able to do a temporary workaround for the organic search issue.

4) Set up a mobile microsite

Set up a quick-and-easy mobile-friendly microsite in a subdirectory under your domain. Code can be put in place that will redirect visitors to that site if they are viewing on a mobile device. While it might not give them the full experience, it will be search engine friendly, and can ease visitors into the less beautiful experience of your non-mobile-friendly full site. Or as above, give you the opportunity to suggest visitors view your site on their desktop or laptop.

5) Consider using a landing page service provider

If you are getting nowhere with making your site a little more mobile friendly, you might at least direct visitors from promotional campaigns to an external landing page. There are companies that host landing pages for you and they usually offer some very effective features besides mobile friendliness such as A/B testing or the option to select from templates that have already been proven to have a high conversion rate. These pages are customisable to a degree. The page is often used to get people to sign up for something or download something. You would need to think of a very focused campaign. They can be quite pricey in which case you might just want to go for that new website. Note that these landing pages can be so effective that even when people do have mobile-friendly sites, they still  take advantage of the service because of the added functionality. Examples include Instapage.com or Leadpages.net.

While this may all seem annoying and frustrating of Google, remember that their objective is the same as yours: for website visitors to be able to find what they are looking for easily, and buy it.


Of course, if you are ready to get a mobile-friendly website, please talk to us.

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