If 'mobilegeddon' was your ‘searchpocalypse,’ you might be in more trouble than you think
In the midst of all the talk of mobilegeddon, Google’s latest algorithm update that is meant to favor sites executing the best mobile design, one thing hasn't been said: If Google changing its algorithm to reward good user experience has you scrambling to cope, you likely have deeper problems than your website.
For all the hand-wringing over this change, you'd never know that Google is simply affirming those who have followed best practices and adapted their sites to deliver the best possible user experience. With ComScore reporting that 60 per cent of digital media consumption now happens on mobile devices, there’s too much at stake to neglect such massive scale of adoption.
True, in the past there were no direct major points from Google for embracing responsive design or ensuring fast speed of loading. But that’s not the real benefit of doing these things. With users (read: customers), such accommodations have always increased utility, sharing and return visits.
Those who've been offering dedicated mobile sites might feel unfairly penalized by Google choosing not to reward them with this update. After all, updating older sites carries significant costs. And isn't a dedicated mobile site at least a good stopgap? Perhaps at one point years ago, but not any longer.
It can take announcements like this from Google to motivate change, often revealing a more significant problem underlying in modern website design: lack of a customer-centric approach to marketing.
Those who've always thought of optimum mobile design as a nice-to-have, instead of a core requirement, are in trouble with this update from Google. And the trouble can be traced to not taking the customer experience seriously enough. The breakdown occurs not from Google’s recent change, but when user experience is considered optional rather than mandatory.
The same goes for staying on top of evolving best practices. This can be difficult to balance with managing other daily work and forward planning, but this should itself be a daily priority in order to prioritize customer and user experience on your website.
The good news is, there’s no need to let this obilegeddon go to waste. It’s the perfect opportunity to take stock, revise your ways of working, and get busy making your site exactly what it needs to be for users.
This is where outside counsel can be indispensable. Empowering yourself with guidance from those whose sole focus is staying on the right side of the curve can bring with it the reassurance that, when a major update like this happens, you won’t end up on the wrong side of it. For those who've long been on top of the evolution of customer experience needs, occasions like mobilegeddon don’t inspire panic, but confirm that they're doing the right thing.
Bottom line: Mobilegeddon is an ideal opportunity to stop and re-assess your website strategy to align with best practices. Not just for Google points, but to ensure you’re curating the best possible user experience for your audiences and customers.
Kareem Harper is vice-president of measurement and analytics for Weber Shandwick