Remember “Carmageddon” in Los Angeles? Or what about “Snowmageddon” every time there’s a big snowstorm on the East Coast? American culture has a way of making an apocalyptic deal out of situations that are impactful, but not as dire as they seem. This is the case with the newest mobile-friendly changes Google is making to its search algorithm. These updates, cleverly termed “Mobilegeddon” by the internet marketing industry, mean big change for businesses, but the new reality doesn’t have to be scary. All you need to know is what the changes mean for your company, and how to handle them.

What is Mobilegeddon?

Mobilegeddon is simply a marketer-coined term for a shakeup in the way Google recommends and ranks websites in searches done on tablets and smart phones. Basically, on April 21st, Google is giving preference to websites it considers mobile-friendly. This means if Google doesn’t consider your site mobile friendly, then it will be demoted in searches on potential customers’ smart devices, – hence, MOBILEGEDDON.

What does it mean for my company?

People are increasingly using mobile devices to compare products and companies to make purchase decisions. Come April 21st, if you haven’t made your website mobile friendly, then you could lose customers and money. You may wonder why you haven’t heard of this sooner. Google has actually been encouraging companies to be mobile-friendly as early as 2012, but only announced this change two months ago. What this means, is that you should make your mobile-friendly changes as soon as possible.

What does my company need to do to have a mobile-friendly website?

The fact that 1) 80 percent of online adults own a smart phone and 2) this major search algorithm change is imminent means that organizations need to focus more on how to make their websites mobile friendly. One way to do that is to adopt a mobile-first marketing strategy, which simply means focusing on mobile and letting that focus lead every other part of your strategy, including design. So – the bottom line – how you can beat Mobilegeddon and optimize your site for mobile searching?

1. Make your site responsive

You’ve probably heard about responsive web design by now. It’s the ultimate, and Google-preferred way to make your website mobile friendly. Responsive design makes it so no matter the size of the device, your site looks good and is easy to use. Basically, one site, many devices. We put together a great article about responsive web design and how to capitalize on other mobile marketing trends in 2015. If you’re interested in learning more, you can check it out here.

2. Reduce load time

If sites don’t load quickly on smart devices then customers leave and don’t come back. In fact, 64 percent of mobile users expect sites to load in 4 seconds or less! This is why Google considers load time a mobile-friendly (and therefor user-friendly) feature. You can reduce load time by:

  • Minimizing HTTP requestsThe majority of a website’s load time comes from loading all of the different bits and pieces like scripts, images, and Flash. An HTTP request is made for each of these, which means the more of these you have, the more time it takes to load.
  • Loading images through CSSCascading Style Sheets (CSS) make it so you don’t have to make those HTTP requests. You can use it to make style features like gradient fills and drop shadows, rather than using an image.
  • Compressing content-heavy pages This is important if you offer high-quality content like photos or video. If a page has 100kb or more of information then you should zip or compress the files to reduce load time.

3. One column is key 

Get rid of left and right columns. If people have to swipe right or left to see all of the content, then Google considers it unfriendly to mobile devices. If you reduce your site to a single clean and clear column, then all mobile users have to do is scroll up and down.

4. Simplify

Just like reducing your content to one column, it’s important to simply the user experience the entire way through. Hongkiat suggests using a 80-20 rule, meaning have your website focus on the 20 percent of the content that generates 80 percent of the traffic, then get rid of everything else. You may ask, what if someone needs that content? In short, they won’t. If they really want something that was on your site before, they can contact you.

5. Move important content forward

People spend less and less time on websites. What they need and want to see needs to be up front and easy to get to. So, look at your website analytics and determine what people look at the most. If what they look at isn’t what you need them to look at for conversions, then you need to re-think the purpose and design of your website.

What now?

Google offers a tool to help you figure out whether or not your current site is mobile friendly. All you have to do is plug in your website URL and it will tell you if your site is mobile friendly and give you some resources to figure out what you can do improve it. Here is what it showed for Crocodile Software’s site:

Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 1.27.29 PM

Google really put companies and especially small businesses on the spot by only announcing this change two months ago. It can be quite a project to make the changes in a hurry, but there is help out there. Consider using a quality seo agency in Houston to help you make this transition. I would love to answer any questions you may have about search engine optimization or mobile marketing – just post your question in our comments section or drop me a quick message. You can also check out our great blog on local SEO, which offers an in-depth look at 10 of some of the easiest, yet most impactful ways you can improve your local search rankings.  Thanks for reading Big Bytes. If you loved the post, pass it on to a friend!