This past November, Google announced changes to how it prioritizes search results, making mobile king. Beginning late last month, those algorithm changes are now live. For those with an established mobile web presence, this may not come as a surprise, while others may be in for a bit of a headache,
including de-prioritized results and ultimately - less traffic.
According to a study by Merkle and published by eMarketer, nearly half of all Fortune 500 websites were not mobile friendly as of Q1 2015.
So if my brand or business has already employed a mobile web strategy, I’m safe, right? Not necessarily. While checking the boxes for usability is a starting point, with its most recent set of changes, Google has ultimately raised the bar on what it means to be mobile in the future.
Arguably, equal parts harsh and long overdue, Google’s changes put new light towards how we think about the experiences we create for customers. While a overhauling a web presence may seem like a project of the past few years to many, the launch of these changes becomes a true catalyst for how every brand evaluates content moving forward. It's important to not only ensure that the content we produce is mobile assessable, but rather it is also mobile valuable.
A few tips we’ve found helpful for staying head of the curve (and hopefully Google’s as well):
1. Analyze what content your customers find most valuable today. This doesn’t have to start and end with your website. If we’re keeping content simple, sometimes the best experiences are inspired by an in-store experience or social insight.
2. Consider your full mobile channel landscape. While mobile web is a starting place for most customer discovery, it doesn’t have to solve all of our needs. Understanding where to employ strategies around SMS, app development or even in-store beacons can help to lighten the load and better direct your customer’s needs.
3. Responsive isn’t always best. While the majority of your content should be consistent and scale across platforms, don’t consider it a done deal right away. There may be circumstances where specific content makes more sense for a mobile-only user. Consider various use cases for your customer’s needs along their path to purchase.
As we prepare for the future of mobile, Google has only just rewritten the first of many rules. Keeping a keen eye towards our customer’s needs, as always, will challenge us to create faster, more engaging and more interactive experiences for any platform that may head our way.