The New Reality of Mobile First: What Mobilegeddon Taught Us 

“Mobilegeddon” has come and gone, but for marketers, Google’s new mobile-friendly algorithm is just the beginning when it comes to a shift in digital strategy.

Several weeks into the change, most marketers are reporting minimal effect in search rankings, while a few independent test results found a more dramatic impact for select companies.

In the short term, Google’s algorithm may have temporarily caused your mobile page rank to change. But the most important takeaway for marketers is adapting to the new reality of mobile-first.

The Next Generation of Mobile Marketing

Google dominates the search space for a reason and the latest algorithm tells us they have their eyes squarely on mobile, and so should you.

More than half of digital traffic now comes from mobile devices. Mobile search volume is also taking over. Google recently announced that for the first time, searches on mobile surpassed those on desktops.

What does a ‘mobile-first’ strategy mean for digital marketers? A website with responsive design is a great start, but will not cut it if you want to stay ahead of the competition.

  • Every Page Counts: Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm is on a page-by-page basis. If you ran your home page through Google’s mobile-friendly test to prepare for Mobilegeddon, that’s not enough. Every URL, every landing page, must be optimized for mobile.
  • Mobile is Screen One: With mobile searches outnumbering desktops and tablets, chances are the first introduction a consumer will have to your product or service is on a mobile screen.  Marketers that view mobile as the ‘second screen’ risk losing relevance with connected customers. Design with the smallest screen in mind first and build out for larger screens.
  • Re-Thinking Content:  Marketers need to look beyond design and align their content for maximum mobile impact. That means concise headlines, shorter paragraphs and streamlined text layouts. Eliminate peripheral content that has marginal value and make sure a call-to-action is always available to the reader, no matter how or where they scroll.

Mobile-first requires a new mindset for digital marketers. It means always thinking about the customer’s mobile experience. What are they looking for and how fast can they accomplish that task on your mobile site?

Planning Ahead

Most experts agree Google will continue to tweak its mobile-friendly algorithm over time, adding factors that enhance the mobile search experience.

While page speed was not part of this mobile update, it is an overall ranking factor and will likely be a bigger consideration in the future. Statistics show slow load time is conversion killer. 40% of consumers will abandon a site that takes more than 3 seconds to load.

To check the health of your mobile load time, try Google’s Page Speed Insights tool. It analyzes the speed of your desktop and mobile site and offers specific recommendations on what to fix and how to fix it.

Anticipating the next algorithm change is still a guessing game. So instead of chasing the latest Google updates, you may find it more effective to continually adjust, optimize and test your websites. That way, you’ll be prepared for any unknown ‘geddons’ in the future.

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