Well our friends at Google have done it again.
Just when you thought you were getting a handle on this Internet thing, they have thrown the technical and marketing world into a tizzy with a new update, on April 21, 2015 that adds mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.
So just when you started to make your way out of the digital marketing wilderness, Google decides the mobile-friendliness signal adds more value to the natural experience signals over SEO only.
At Marketing CoPilot, we have been watching mobile usage escalate as an important metric in Google Analytics. What started out at about 10% of people accessing websites using mobile devices in 2013 is now 65% or greater in 2015.
Being mobile responsive is no longer a “nice to have”, it is a must for anyone that wants to engage their audience and do well in Google rankings.
But before you rush out and find yourself an HTML5 programmer that can convert your website to be mobile responsive, all things are not equal in the mobile world and you should do your homework in Google Analytics and with your customers before jumping on the mobile responsive bandwagon.
Much like the business owners and CEOs who discovered that a website had to be more than an online brochure, just converting an existing website to show up on mobile is not going to cut it.
Important questions to answer before you develop a mobile responsive website
- Why do people come to my website? Will the reason be the same for mobile users?
- What content do people consume on my website? Will they consume the same content on a mobile device?
- How well do my conversion points (places where people can interact with your website) perform on a desktop? If they are tricky on a desktop, they’ll be even harder on a mobile device, especially if you ask for a lot of form fields to be filled out.
- What portion of my current site do people use on a mobile device and could this be improved?
- Is there content that makes sense to offer up specifically for mobile-first visitors to enhance the overall content consumption experience?
More and more people are using mobile devices to browse the Internet, so Google in its infinite wisdom is adding more value to websites that provide a positive user experience in accessing valuable content.
Here’s how a mobile responsive ranking works
If you increase your mobile visitors/visits this sends a positive signal from a click through perspective and content/user interaction, whether it is coming from a branded search or organic.
So whether on mobile or desktop, a strong content marketing strategy will contribute to feed the three best ranking signals we love to focus on:
- Brand recognition: Users searching for your brand online sends a strong signal that you are a trusted company. So keep doing online marketing and building brand awareness and insert variable branded keywords in your content along with organic keywords.
- Click through ratio: Users clicking from SERPs to land on your website sends a positive signal that you’re delivering users expected material. So keep your online presence moving, build backlinks and rework your title and descriptions to increase your click through ratio.
- Actual site and content interaction: This user signal proves to Google that your content is valuable. So make your website easy to use and crawl from a technical perspective. Develop engaging, valuable content that your target audience/visitors needs, to keeps your: bounce rate low, improve your pageviews and time on site and makes visitors return to your website, as these human signals gives you authority over your competition.
If you rank on well on a desktop you should rank on mobile unless your mobile version can’t keep the visitor on your website because of a poor user experience.
Tips to increase your ranking
Because the mobile experience is vastly different than desktop, having a mobile friendly content experience is key to maintain your user signals factors activated. For this reason optimizing your Google tools content (Google+, Local, Map etc.) and adding more markup schema on your content can feed Google new introduced Web Interface for mobile searchers. This new search interface favors, optimized apps, images, videos, Google+, local schema and Google Now above the fold before presenting blue links.
A strong case for content marketing
Here’s more proof that content marketing is driving the show. If we compare what makes a valuable authority website from Google’s perspective vs SEO technical only websites, we clearly see that user interaction sends distinctive signal that SEO only can.
|Content Marketing Websites
(Real authority site)
|SEO only websites (Technical)|
|Can we get:||Content Marketing||Technical SEO|
|Backlinks||YES: Lot of backlinks, referrals||YES: Lot of backlinks, referrals|
|Content||YES: Rich keywords, fresh content||YES: Rich keywords, fresh content|
|Social signals||YES: A lot of social signals||YES: A lot of social signals|
|Brand search (awareness)||YES: Searching for your brand in the search box tells Google your important||NO: No one is searching for your brand. You have no brand recognition online|
|Traffic & Click Through||YES: Gets a lot traffic from SERPs||NO: This only gets traffic from SEO links|
|Actual User Experience||YES: How people interact with the website||NO: People bounce really quickly because they can’t find what they are looking for|
Tips and Tricks
So how do you know if your site meets Google’s requirements for mobile friendliness? Google has created a Mobile-Friendliness tool that will give you a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer on a per-URL basis. Pages are evaluated individually, so another quick way to get a sense for how your top pages perform is to do a “site:yourdomain.com” query for the domain in question on your phone. That will allow you to see all the pages indexed to the domain, and evaluate which ones are considered mobile-friendly and which are not, without having to submit them to the tool one at a time.
Need help ironing out the details of your mobile content strategy? The team at Marketing CoPilot is here to help!