Underneath my umbrella of marketing consulting services is my role as “showrunner” of several O&P organizations, state association and annual meetings of state chapter of the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists.
Understandably, marketing plays a big part in a successful event. Members, speakers, vendors and attendees all need to be marketed to and one of the easiest ways to push information to everyone is through the organization’s website. Although most of the visitors to those websites should be people that have a vested interest in the organizations, as opposed to random Internet searchers, many people still use a search engine instead of typing in the direct link. I am pretty sure I am not the only one who thinks, “Why bookmark when you can just Google it?”
Mobile friendliness affects search rankings
Knowing this about myself and working on some of these organizations’ websites for upcoming meetings, I have been interested in what is going on over at Google recently. Two words: Mobile friendly.
According to statista.com, there will be more than 196 million smartphone users in the United States by 2016. Everyone and their grandmother will be using a smartphone. Why is this important to know? If someone is using a smartphone as their primary link to the Internet — which a lot of people are now that phones are basically tiny computers — then website usability and mobile friendliness will be extremely important.
Effective April 21, 2015, or the day known as #Mobilegeddon, Google changed its search algorithms to factor in “mobile friendliness.” If a website is not optimized for a smartphone screen, its rank gets downgraded. What exactly does Google consider mobile friendly? Some requirements are:
- Text has to be readable without tapping and zooming;
- Page avoids horizontal scrolling; and
- Content is playable on a smartphone.
Easy to check
Are you concerned that your website might not be mobile friendly? You probably will not be surprised that Google has an online tool to help you find out. Simply search “Mobile Friendly Test” and click the first result.
Source: © Shutterstock
Did you check your website? If your website did not get the green light, you are in “good” company. Do you know who is not mobile-friendly? TechCrunch released a study in 2013 that reported two-thirds of Fortune 100 companies were not ready for mobile search. BSBC.com failed.
Why? The text is too small to read. The links are too close together. The mobile viewport is not set. Robots.txt blocks Googlebot from loading some of the page’s resources.
Why is it important for Google to like the friendliness of your site? Because they would like to continue to dominate search engine use, of course. Google knows that almost half of mobile traffic is a result of searching. That means that instead of just typing in the URL to get to a website, the website was reached through a search engine. Google = search engine. You do the math.
Mobile traffic is important and will continue to become even more important. Now is the time to take a good hard look at your website and think about your plans for its future.
For more information:
Elizabeth Mansfield is the president of Outsource Marketing Solutions. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ewald B. Tech Crunch. 2015; http://techcrunch.com.