Google Mobile-Friendly Update: Implications for Your Small Business Website

GOOGLE mobile-friendly update

Can you afford to throw away half of your leads and potential customers??

On April 21, 2015 Google changed the search algorithm so that websites that are not “mobile-friendly” will NOT be shown in search results on a mobile device.

Have you checked your website? Here’s the link:

You’ll see whether or not your website is mobile responsive. Maybe it looks great when viewed on a desktop but not so good on an iPhone or Kindle? If so, your website won’t be shown to people who are searching for you on a smart phone or tablet. That's right - they will NOT be shown your website, no matter how good the content, design, offers, etc.

Why is Google's mobile-friendly update important to you?

Over 50% of online searches are done on a smart phone or tablet.

Earlier this year, Google announced that mobile searches now exceed searches done via computer. Specifically, Google said that “more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US ...” Have you checked your Google Analytics recently to see what percent of visitors come to your website on a mobile device?

After Google's mobile-friendly update, nearly 50% of non-mobile-friendly websites dropped in the search results. Even large company sites were affected. They lost a significant portion of their traffic practically overnight.

But smaller businesses tend to be a little more nimble. It's easier for a small to mid-size business owner to make the decision to upgrade a website and to get it done quickly. And that gives you an advantage over larger companies and slower competitors. You can learn more in a recent Forbes article here.

And for more details about the update itself, see Google's FAQs on the April 21st Mobile-Friendly Update.

What to do if your website isn't mobile friendly

First of all, don't panic. What you choose to do will depend on factors like the amount of traffic you currently get to your site, how much business you generate through your website, who your website visitors are and how they view/use your site, and whether or not you're using Google AdWords.

If your website isn't a significant part of your revenue generation plan or if most viewers are on a desktop, then you might want to just leave it alone. It'll still be shown to people looking for companies like yours on a desktop computer. Of course, you won't be presenting an optimal viewing experience to your mobile visitors, but that may not be a priority for you

But if you depend on your website to drive or bring in business, then you should make it mobile friendly. The ROI is undeniable - not only will a responsive design help you gain customers who otherwise would’ve bounced from your site, you'll also keep your existing customer base happy, increase traffic to your website, and see an improvement in search engine results.

Here are your options -

1. If it's an HTML website...

  • You can have a website developer add the necessary CSS and HTML to make it look different on different devices. Depending on how complex your website is, this can work well enough to do the job.
  • Another option is to migrate your HTML website to the WordPress platform and use a theme that's already designed to be mobile friendly. That's the option I recommend and all of my clients who've made the switch have been very happy with the outcome (including the fact that they can now edit their website without my help!).

2. If it's a WordPress website...

  • You can upgrade your design/theme to a mobile-friendly one. This will usually take some time from your web developer to make sure everything's working properly.
  • You can also install a WordPress plug-in that makes the site responsive. The plug-in isn't as good as using a mobile responsive theme and Google may not recognize the website as being mobile-friendly - but it'll look better for your mobile viewers.

Not sure what to do? Give me a call at 520-900-1226. We'll walk you through your options to help you decide what's best for you.

I’ve built a lot of websites for companies just like yours. I specialize in the tree care and landscape industries so I know what works and what doesn’t. And I know the importance of a website that gets you found when people search online for a local company like yours.

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