Is Your Site Ready for Google’s Mobile Update?

We’ve talked a lot about mobile and why going mobile is essential to local business success. And for good reason: Google is about to roll out a new mobile search algorithm starting April 21 – or as it’s known – “mobilegeddon,” because of the vast number of non-mobile sites predicted to be impacted by the update.

Why a mobile-friendly algorithm? Google’s in the business of providing the most relevant and valuable search results to its users. And as more and more people use mobile devices to search for information (especially local business information), Google is favoring mobile-optimized sites and content in its search results.

What’s Included in the Google Mobile Update?

The algorithm update will give mobile-friendly websites precedence in mobile search results. And according to Search Engine Land, this Google update will impact more sites than either Google’s Panda or Penguin.

In addition, Google will also index information from mobile apps in searches for users who have the app installed on their device and who are signed into the app. This means that content from apps can be surfaced in search results, too.

What Does The Google Mobile Update Mean for Your Business?

If you don’t provide a website that’s mobile-friendly, Google won’t show it to mobile searchers. Because Google sees a non-mobile website as providing a poor user experience, it will start driving traffic away from these sites and emphasizing mobile websites in the mobile search results instead – sites like your mobile-friendly competitors. That means you could start to see less traffic from mobile sources and lower conversion rates on your website if it’s not mobile-friendly. And losing mobile search traffic could mean a huge loss in leads – and sales.

How Can You Update Your Site for Mobile?

With Google’s new mobile search update, having a mobile website for your business is your only option. But there are a couple ways to do this.

You could implement a unique mobile site – such as m.reachlocal.com – but this option is less than ideal for most businesses. Not only would you have to maintain this site separately from your primary website, it probably won’t provide all the content necessary to help it show up in search results or all information needed to drive conversions from visitors.

A mobile-responsive website is your best bet when it comes to updating your website for mobile. That’s because it retains all the content of your website while still making it easy for visitors to read, navigate, and use, which could increase time spent on your site as well as conversions like calls and emails. Converting to a mobile-responsive format may require you to rebuild your website or switch to a responsive theme.

Making the Most of Your New Mobile Website

Once you have your website optimized for mobile, make sure you run your site through Google’s mobile site test to ensure it gets Google’s stamp of approval for mobile. You’ll want to make sure it can be viewed correctly on multiple devices and browsers, that it loads quickly, and that you have a successful SEO and content strategy in place to help your mobile site get found in organic search results and help visitors convert.

How do you think this mobile update will affect your website? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Tamara Weintraub

Tamara is a content marketing manager at ReachLocal with over 7 years experience in B2B marketing and has a nerd-level affinity for software and technology. She specializes in helping local businesses succeed online, writing and learning about Google, search advertising, SEO, and social media marketing. When she's not writing about online marketing, you can find her watching cult TV and hanging out with her Doberman.

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