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Google’s Latest Mobile Website Update

So, you’re a business owner and you’ve got a website. That’s good… so it’s practically guaranteed that you’ll have heard of the ‘impending doom’ that’s about to come as a result of Google’s 21st April algorithm changes, where the focus is going to be on websites that deliver a mobile experience.

If you’ve read anything about this update, chances are you’ll at some point have had a couple of moments of sheer panic.

  • Is my website mobile responsive?
  • Does it offer a great mobile experience?
  • Am I going to be blacklisted by Google if my mobile site doesn’t score 100/100 on Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool?

To a certain extent, these moments will have been justified. Google never announce an update before it happens – they always do so after it’s been rolled out. As such, it’s pretty clear to all that this update must be something big.

And there’s no doubt that it is. It’s huge.

But the reality also is it’s unlikely to be as catastrophic to your digital presence as you may think, as long as you’re doing the one thing you should be doing as a business anyway –focusing on your customers and the experience they have with your brand.

Mobile responsiveness = improved user experience

What Google are trying to achieve is for there to be a great quality search experience available for all. Originally around ensuring people have access to the content they needed as quickly as possible, this is undoubtedly still the case today, but it now also extends to whatever device they’re searching on. It’s about ensuring websites are delivering the one thing we all want – a seamless, omni-channel experience.

We’ve gone through the years where we had to work our way around the desktop version of a website on a mobile device, and also the lack of transition between the engagement we have with a company’s dedicated mobile website and that which we have on their desktop site.

Now we want a seamless level of engagement. We want to be able to load up a website on our mobile whilst on the train, then be able to carry on with our engagement in the same familiar way when we get into the office and are using a laptop or desktop.

Chances are you’re nodding along to this, and if you’re doing so whilst also feeling confident this is what you’re offering to your customers as a brand, fantastic! The reality is, it’s likely Google’s upcoming algorithm change won’t affect you massively either way – you’re doing what they (and your audience) want already!

If you’re nodding along on a personal level, but don’t feel at all confident that your business’s website is offering this, the first thing you need to do is not panic, for one very clear reason:

Google will not blacklist you if you aren’t offering a mobile responsive website

And just to make sure that’s sunk in, read the above again. And again.

OK, Google aren’t going to be happy if you’re not offering a mobile experience – and the reality is, you really should be focusing on doing so – but they’re not going to kick you out of their search listings because of it. Remember, Google are trying to encourage the offering of a fantastic omni-channel experience, and mobile is only one component.
Sure, it’s definitely a large component, but it’s still only one part of the whole equation.

Will it mean you see a decrease in organic traffic? Chances are it will, yes. Likewise, it’ll probably mean you see a decrease in conversions or your lead generation processes, too.

The good news is, the solution is easy – offer a great mobile experience!

Google updates more than you think

Now this may be obvious, but we’re hearing a lot of people essentially resigning themselves to digital failure. The 21st is only a couple of days away, so even if they did manage to create a mobile responsive version of their site, Google aren’t going to pick it up until weeks or months down the line, right?

Well, potentially – but chances are it will be much, much sooner.

Google update their search algorithms regularly. There’s no confirmed frequency, but it’s often said they update it between ‘daily’ and ‘a couple of times per week’, meaning that a mobile responsive website launched soon could very easily be picked up before the 21st April update hits.

But even if it isn’t, it’s not a major issue. Remember, quality has to come first when you’re delivering all things digital, and Google like this, so think about it that way – is it more beneficial to quickly put together a mobile responsive website in the next week or two, or actually spend the time developing a mobile responsive website that is genuinely fantastic?

Do the former and you’ll likely be included within the discussed algorithm update, but if it’s poor quality, it could actually have an adverse affect. Do the latter, however, and although you may see a dip in organic traffic for a couple of days or weeks, once Google picks up your quality mobile responsive website, you could see a considerable increase in traffic compared to the level you’re achieving now.

We can’t get away from the fact the upcoming Google update is going to impact on the digital landscape. But that doesn’t mean the world is going to end, Google are going to rule all…or you’re going to get blacklisted if you don’t comply.

As a business, you need to be delivering a first class experience to your entire audience – and as long as you’re taking mobile into account when doing so, you should be doing a lot to deliver exactly what it is they want.

Not sure if your website is mobile responsive or whether it’s offering the best experience possible? Drop us a line and let us take a look.

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