Mobilegeddon: How will your business fare following Googles’ latest update?

 

 

 

 By Muhammad Osman Khan, Country Manager, Upwork

 

 

·         On April 21 Google rolled out changes that affected mobile rankings

·         If a website doesn’t pass Google’s mobile friendly test it won’t show up in search results

·         If your site isn’t mobile friendly you will most likely need to speak to a professional

·         86 billion searches per year on mobile devices, 71% of which result in a phone call (business2community.com)

 

You aren’t to blame if mobile SEO has been low on your business’ list of priorities ; it’s part of digital marketing strategy, which many organizations in the world over fail to properly understand, let alone master.  But ignorance is no longer bliss, because Google’s recent updates mean your business will be critically disadvantaged if you continue to turn a blind eye.

 

On a brighter note, you may see your online exposure grow if you are ahead of the curve with the new changes, due to competitors’ websites being hit by the updates.

Rolling out yet another of its masterful algorithm updates, Google recently upped the pressure to a new level for businesses wanting to stay competitive. Appropriately dubbed “Mobilegeddon” or “Mobilepocalypse,” Google has decided to use mobile friendliness as a ranking signal in search results. As of April 21st 2015, Mobile-friendly sites are enjoying a boost, while sites with usability issues on mobile devices are significantly dropping in ranking.

 

Since Google’s announcement, Upwork: the world’s largest freelance talent marketplace, has seen an increased demand for mobile-related design and development skills to help companies with the change — which is no surprise, since no businesses are exempt from this change, and it will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide. With 80% of all adults now owning a smartphone and 2 billion people worldwide expected to get them by 2016, mobiles matter more than ever.

 

In our conversations with clients trying to optimize their sites to meet the new mobile guidelines, we have gathered some insightful tips as to how businesses can get their sites up to speed.

Here are five key steps to ensure your website doesn’t fall prey to Mobilegeddon.

 

Step 1: Test your site. There are a few ways you can test your site’s mobile-friendliness. First, you can simply view your site’s listing in Google search results on mobile. If the “mobile-friendly” tag does not appear beneath your URL, your site needs to be updated. You can also enter a web page URL in Google’sMobile-Friendly Test to see how well it performs on a mobile device. If your site fails, it needs to be updated. If it passes, it may still need improvements before earning the “mobile-friendly” tag. You should test your site in Google’s PageSpeed Insights test for a full rundown on issues that affect its search rankings.

 

Step 2: Learn what constitutes mobile-friendly. Google considers a page “mobile-friendly” if it does the following (Google’s mobile friendly test which let you know which aspects your site has failed):


* Uses text that is readable without zooming
* Sizes content to fit the screen, so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
* Avoids software that isn’t necessarily supported on mobile devices (e.g. Flash)
* Spaces links far enough apart that the correct one can be easily tapped.

 

Step 3: Identify the right fix. Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test and PageSpeed Insights detail your site’s issues, and there are a few options available to address them.

In order to be mobile-friendly, your site must be configured in one of the following ways:

Responsive web design: Google’s recommended option, a responsive site uses the same HTML and URL across devices and renders the appropriate display for the user’s device through CSS.

Dynamic serving: This configuration entails using the same URL but a different version of HTML to serve different device types.

Separate URLs: This method serves different code to different devices using separate URLs, by employing HTTP redirects.

 

Even if your site is mobile-friendly, you must ensure that Google sees it that way by signaling its mobile configuration. The process to do this will vary by configuration. For example, for responsive pages, you need to add a “meta viewport” tag to the head of the document to signal to the browser how to adjust the page for different screen sizes.

You also want to ensure that Google’s algorithms can crawl your pages. Be sure to allow access to your page and its assets (JavaScript, CSS and image files) for Googlebot to crawl. Refer to Google’s Mobile-Friendly guide for detail on these and other pitfalls to avoid.

 

If your site was built on a CMS (e.g. WordPress), your options may include:
* Convert your existing site to a new mobile-friendly theme (could require just a simple update process, depending on your CMS and what’s available).
* Create a new mobile-friendly version of your site, keeping your desktop site the same.
* Customize your site to make it mobile-friendly (will require CSS, HTML knowledge).

Be sure to back up your site before updating it or making any changes. Consult guides from both Google and your CMS provider for more details on your options.

 

Step 4: Make it a priority. Mobilegeddon has already hit, so making your site mobile-friendly should be a top priority now — not later. As a ranking signal for search results, mobile usability will be an important factor in where your site shows up in search results on mobile devices, allowing you to gain much better visibility come April 21. Plus, you’ll deliver a better search experience to the growing number of mobile users.

 

Step 5: Seek professional advice. If all this sounds like hysterical, post-mobilegeddon madness then you are going to need to contact someone who knows. Elance- Odesk has over 7000 consultants who are ready and waiting to help you out in your state of mobile peril.

 

 

 

About Muhammad Osman Khan

As Country Manager UAE, Osman is responsible for Upwork activities in the region, with a particular focus on client acquisition, customer education and community building.

Truly passionate about marketing in the 21st century, Osman is exceptionally skilled in strategy, growth and activation for businesses with online and offline initiatives.

Previously, Osman has held prominent marketing roles at Grocon, Australia's largest privately owned development, construction & investment management company and Ethos Consultancy, the region's leader and innovator in customer service solutions. He is also a founder of blueorange, a marketing company that revolves around simplicity to fuel growth for businesses.

With the rise of the ‘on demand’ economy, Osman has also emerged as a thought leader, having been interviewed and quoted by outlets such as Dubai Eye, Arabian Business and Al Arabiya.

Osman holds a MSc in Strategic Marketing from Cranfield University in England and a BBA from the American University in Dubai.

 

About Upwork

Upwork is the world’s largest freelance talent marketplace. As an increasingly connected and independent workforce goes online, knowledge work —like software, shopping and content before it— is shifting online as well. This shift is making it faster and easier for clients to connect and work with talent in near real-time and is freeing professionals everywhere from having to work at a set time and place.


Freelancers are earning more than $1 billion annually via Upwork. Upwork is headquartered in Mountain View, California, with offices in San Francisco, California, and Oslo, Norway. For more information, visit our website at www.upwork.com

 

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