On April 21st Google published it's latest program which will penalize web pages that are not optimized for mobile viewing -- and with good reason. Mobile Internet use (i.e., viewing and interacting with pages on smart phones, tablets, etc.) is now more common than going on the Internet on a desktop PC. What's more, the consensus among Google officials, online advertising professionals, and inbound marketing experts is that the update will be a pretty big deal. It is projected to affect many more people than other major updates, such as Panda and Penguin.
What do you need to know before the update? Businesses and web pages are expected to be negatively impacted -- and not for the reasons you think. Sites are not necessarily being penalized because they lack mobile optimization or mobile Web design altogether. Instead, businesses are making small mistakes on mobile pages that can make a big difference and ultimately hurt your search rankings. Here are a few to look out for:
Videos That Won't Play
Half of local searches happen on mobile devices, and that means you need to videos that will play on desktop PCs, laptops, and smart phones and tablets. Many web pages still use Flash players; any Web design company or strategic marketing professional will tell you that's a bad idea. These videos won't play on all devices, and that will only frustrate your customers and possibly even turn them away.
Flash was abandoned a few years ago by many software developers. If you haven't updated your website recently and you have animated imagery ask your web designer if you have Flash on your site. Stop putting off the updates. Remove it, redesign the pages, convert the Flash to a format that conforms to Google standards as soon as you can. Maintaining search engine ranking takes weekly effort by someone that understands your industry and your business goals.
Consider hiring a company that will create and execute a personalized SEO plan...
Not a big company that provides "canned" solutions that provides reports you can't read and throws out words that your don't understand. A company that will work with you will provide direction on things you can do in-house that will magnify the work you are paying them to do for you.
Speed Is A Major Concern For Mobile Users
As of an April 2013 survey, Internet users waited only 2.078 seconds for pages to load. People have only gotten more impatient over time -- and users expect faster loading pages on mobile as they are typically on their devices while out and about, and busy. Just about everyone has had at least one experience with a mobile page taking forever to load -- and you don't want to be the one creating those experiences.
Avoid common mistakes for the best possible experience with Google's new update -- an update some are calling the "Mobile-Pocalypse," according to Small Business Trends.
You may not have seen an immediate drop in ranking on April 21st, but I assure you no site is safe if it does not meet the Google mobile responsive site requirements AND if you have ignored your website for years or built it yourself. You know who you are... your website was built 4 or more years ago but have not invested any time of money in updating, adding content, getting influential backlinks, or blogging. Or maybe you used a free drag and drop template because you didn't want to pay to have a professional help you and you too aren't spending time or money to update, add content regularly and do all the activities that Google rewards. Your website should be a lead generator not just a tool your sales people send customers to after they meet.