Don’t Get Hit by a Google Slap

The Significance of a Mobile-Friendly Website

Like paper maps and 24-hour film developers, physical phonebooks are no longer the height of modern technology. Think about it: when was the last time you actually cracked open a copy of the local directory to find an address and phone number?

These days, there’s no need to flip through air-thin pages when the information you need is just a few taps away. With search engines and keywords at your disposal, websites have become the primary means of gathering basic facts. As a business owner, your website is your place in the infinite world wide web. Therefore, it should be easy to find, easily accessible, and highly mobile.

The key term to consider here is mobile. Smartphones and other mobile devices have dominated the tech industry. No longer a luxury item, recent figures report the number of smartphone users will reach a whopping two billion by 2016. With so many potential customers on the go, a company’s website must cater to them.

In short, if your website isn’t mobile friendly, you’re losing money.

Avoid the Google Slap

When you want to drive business to your website, you might invest in something like Google’s AdWords to ensure ads for your site appear wherever keywords and subjects related to your business show up on the web. For every click Google’s AdWords supplies your business, you pay a minimum 10 cent fee (and it can go as high as $100+ for some keywords).

But Google has strict requirements. For example, if a website is in poor repair, runs too slow, or isn’t suited for mobile users, a Google Slap is issued.

Google Slaps are algorithmic penalties for not maintaining Google-worthy content. The more slaps a website is issued, the lower their rank in Google search results. Too many slaps and AdWords accounts are banned altogether.

Instead of going through an appeals process that likely won’t produce worthwhile results, small businesses that are victims of the slap often change their domain names altogether and build their website again from scratch as opposed to wasting time fighting with Google. But this halts all traffic to their site for unknown periods of time. Meanwhile, for every click made to a site post-slap, the minimum fee can jump. Don’t believe us? Just ask head Newsletter Pro, Shaun, about a painful Google fight he went through with a previously owned company. Trust us, it wasn’t pretty!

In a digital world dominated by search engines, websites are constantly under the scrutiny of Google’s watchful eye, but there are ways to ensure a website passes the test.

Fair warning: there is one new thing you need to watch out for. Google favors mobile-friendly websites. In fact, just this year, Google tweaked its search algorithm to boost the visibility of mobile-friendly websites. The update — affectionately dubbed “Mobilegeddon” — had the power to rank the sites of multibillion dollar companies (Spirit Airlines and Subway for example) lower than those of much smaller enterprises.

Not sure if your site if mobile ready?

Of course, the first step in determining the mobile friendliness of your website is to take it for a spin on your own devices. When you open your website on a mobile browser via smartphone or tablet, answer a few questions:

  • What can you see?
  • Does your site fit comfortably on the screen, or must you scroll in every direction to see the whole page?
  • Is your site as easy to navigate on a phone or tablet as it is on a computer?
  • Does the website you see on a mobile device enhance your consumers’ buying experience or detract from it?

If your results turn up negative, it’s time for a change.

To help businesses determine just how mobile their sites are, Google Developers constructed the Mobile-Friendly Test. Enter your URL into the search bar, and in seconds, Google will analyze the mobile-friendliness of your website. While the results aren’t comprehensive down to the last detail, the test can basically tell you if your site is up to Google’s standards (or not) and why.

To ensure your customers get the most out of their digital experience, make the mobile friendliness of your website a priority. The better your mobile site, the more traffic you’re likely to gain, and the higher your search engine rank will be. With a little extra effort now, there’s nowhere to go but up.

When you’re done with that, be sure to check back with The Newsletter Pro’s blog for more tips, tricks, and hints for making your business the best it can be.

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