With Google’s April 21 algorithm changes for mobile devices just days away, webmasters, SEO companies and journalists everywhere are working themselves into a frenzy.
Should Australian businesses wait and see what happens? Or act now to get ahead of the game?
We cut through the scare mongering and sort the fact from the fiction.
Mobile usability has been a factor in Google’s search algorithm for years. Why fret now?
It’s true that many of Google’s “updates” are actually just data refreshes and tweaks that hold little bearing on existing search rankings.
However ROI.com.au web team leader Matthew Simpson believes “Mobilegeddon” will have more of an impact on search rankings than either Panda or Penguin, two of the largest algorithm updates ever launched.
“Originally, most small and medium businesses would have bought a cheap website or designed their own through Wix or other low-cost options. Those websites are definitely not going to be mobile friendly. And that actually does mean you will lose customers,” Simpson explained.
“It’s a cheesy, Hollywood style name. But this algorithm change actually does live up to the term Mobilegeddon because small and medium businesses will become very hard to find in mobile searches. And that’s a serious problem for them if they don’t act.”
Smartphone use is growing. But aren’t desktop rankings still most important?
Smartphone use in Australia has more than doubled in four years, with three quarters of the population now owning a device.
The 2014 Neilsen research found few Australians can imagine life without constant texting, talking, emailing, listening to music or surfing the web all via their smartphone.
About 84 per cent of users take their smartphone wherever they go and 71 per cent never have time out from their device by turning it off.
Okay, people use Smartphones a lot, but Australians still prefer desktops for shopping
It’s true that if Australians are at home, they’re more likely to use desktop devices for online shopping.
But consider this.
When out shopping, 78% of Smartphone users have researched a product or service on their phone.
Nearly 80% of local searches on mobile devices turned into purchases, with about 76% of those purchases happening on the same day the user performed their local search.
MORE: Mobile Usage Fast Facts
Mobile responsiveness sounds great, but my customers are too old for Smartphones….
There’s no arguing that younger people are more prolific Smartphone users. But to suggest Australians over the age of 50 are technophobes is thoroughly wrong.
In fact, the number of baby boomers using Smartphones has jumped from 16% to 57% since 2013.
And there is an added incentive to reach out to baby boomers on mobile devices.
The misconception actually means businesses targeting this age demographic have more chance to be exclusively heard.
Mobile website optimisation sounds expensive. Do the costs outweigh the benefits?
To start off, ROI.com.au offers free mobile website analysis and optimisation packages that range from about $600 to $5000 for the ultra-complex e-commerce platforms.
By neglecting mobile optimisation, Australian businesses will lose search engine ranking, which generally means forfeiting at least 20% of overall traffic.
And what about your existing customers who are looking you up on a smart phone to check your contact details? They will think you are out of business.
If there’s one thing you do to improve your site this year, making it mobile-friendly should be a high priority.
Unsure of how your website stands up to mobile or what you should do to go mobile friendly? We can help you prepare for April 21.