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THERE WAS A PANDA, A PENGUIN AND A MOBILE…

The team at Spinifex Communications International explain what Google’s latest update means for small business owners. 

You may think that this is a joke but actually it’s not.

Over the past couple of years, Google has rolled out a couple of algorithms, one called Panda and one called Penguin, stay with us, to improve the quality of search engine ratings and identify any websites that were using ‘black hat’ tactics to artificially increase the ranking of a webpage. Google strives to deliver high quality and relevant content to its users and with every update of their algorithm they crack down harder on those websites that are trying to cut corners to get to the front page.

Whilst these had noteworthy impacts, in total affecting 15% of search queries, the recent ‘mobile’ friendly algorithm released on April 21, 2015 promises to have significant impact.

Why is Google targeting mobile?

The way that users conduct their information search online is changing and the design and function of our websites needs to keep up. In 2014 the use of mobile devices as a means of browsing the internet overtook desktop computers and it’s looking like the gap is only going to get wider (see graph above).

However, the reality is that the concept of ‘mobile first’ is already out-dated and if you’re designing your websites with only mobile in mind you’re solving yesterday’s problem. Your website needs to work seamlessly across all devices not just mobile. At a conference last year, one of Google’s top ad executives stated “Ninety per cent of consumers start a task on one device and finish it on another”. Each device has different characteristics and a truly responsive website should take advantage of these, turning a static site into an intuitive and fluid customer experience.

Why you shouldn’t ignore the update

In a recent survey it was found that 79 per cent of respondents (from 3000 mobile phone users) were getting information online via their mobile phone, 76 per cent were visiting websites or searching online, 25 per cent of those did that at least five times a day! (Source: Australian Government.) In short, and reflective of the times we live in, your customers want to access information not only instantly, but in a format that they can read easily.

What does this mean for you as a small business owner?

Taking these trends into account, Google will be extending the use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal throughout mobile search results. So if your website is not mobile friendly it will not rank as high in search results when a customer is searching for your business.

Is your website mobile friendly? How will this impact your business? What should you do?

What you can do

We know how busy you are running a business and unless you have a designated SEO expert it’s hard to find the time and resources to make sure you come top of the search results. So contact us if you need advice on what to do about your website and making it more mobile friendly.

Andrea Proctor and Peter HuxleySpinifex Communications International

Andrea Proctor and Peter Huxley work on the Bayer Amplify program providing marketing support for pest managers.