Search Marketing News & Views from Our Man on the Street

Local Search: Mobile Beats PC for the First Time

You’ve got one month from today to get your site optimized for mobile viewing. You read that right. One month.

On April 21st, Google’s mobile optimization algorithm update hits the streets and your site needs to be ready. Otherwise, you can expect to see your competition leapfrog you in Mobile Search Results. Still, even if Google wasn’t forcing the issue, mobile optimized sites just make for a better user experience and that’s what really matters.

According to a recent report from the Local Search Association, for the first time 60% of adults report using mobile devices, instead of PC’s, to conduct their local searches. That’s a big deal, but it shouldn’t be a surprise. Look around you. It seems like smart phones are ever present these days. In fact, it may seem like some people are glued to their preferred device with almost no ability to ever put them down. Ask my wife. She’ll agree . . . But I digress.

Mobile use is on the rise for one very simple reason – convenience. As a society, we’ve grown accustomed to having information at our fingertips. When we’re out and about that doesn’t change. It actually becomes even more “necessary”. Whether you’re looking for a coffee shop or a hardware store your phone is right there to let you know what stores are nearby, what other shoppers think of those stores, and exactly how to get there from wherever you happen to be at the moment. It’s rather astonishing when you stop to think about it.

That’s why we place such a high importance on creating mobile-friendly websites. We’ve been preaching for years, but now having a mobile optimized site is a necessity if you want to remain competitive. Google recently announced an upcoming algorithm update specifically for mobile sites. The long and short of the update is this: Your site has to look good and perform well on mobile devices and desktops or you can expect a drop in rankings. Google did not come right out and say Responsive Design websites will rank higher, but they have been promoting Responsive Design for some time now.

Frankly, it doesn’t matter if Google promotes Responsive Design or not. Building responsive sites just makes sense. You end up with one site that automatically resizes itself to look great and perform well across multiple platforms and screen sizes. Take a look at your site from a few different devices and see if it looks the way it should. Beyond that, see if the text and images are readable without zooming. Are you pinching and squeezing to read the text or view iamges? Do you have to swipe left to right to see the whole page? Even worse, is your site built with Flash, the once beautiful tool to create animations and interactive sites that is completely unreadable on mobile devices? If any of that is true, you need to fix it by April 21, 2015. That’s the deadline Google has given for the rollout of their mobile update.

April 21st is right around the corner, one month from today, so get on it. If you need a hand or would like to learn more about how we use Responsive Design, contact us today.