If you’re interested at all in web traffic and search engine optimization (SEO) — and you should be, at least a little — you heard a thing or two about “mobilegeddon” in the weeks leading up to last Tuesday. That’s the day when Google rolled out a change to its search algorithm that favors mobile-friendly sites. When we first read about the change, to be totally transparent, we panicked a little bit. Neither 504experts.com nor 504blog.com was designed with mobile in mind, and we worried that our web search traffic would take a hit. After reading more about Google’s change and reviewing our traffic data, we calmed down and got less scared and we think you should do the same. Here’s why…
Only mobile search will be affected.
We all use our mobile devices to search and surf the web more than ever before. Our phones have become supercomputers that rarely function as actual phones. Google simply wants to make it easier to find content that is formatted for our mobile devices when we’re using our mobile devices. You can read more from Google here. We’ve spent time and effort to make our website SEO-friendly so that we show up when people are searching for SBA 504 loans, or commercial real estate financing, or any number of things that might indicate they’re looking for the service we provide. We were terrified that we were going to lose all that work simply because our site wasn’t optimized for mobile the way Google wanted it to be, but that’s not the case. The change Google is making only affects searches made from mobile devices, so desktop search results will remain unaffected.
Mobile traffic may not be significant traffic.
Again, we all use our devices much more frequently these days, but there may not be a lot mobile searching being done for you particular product or service. According to a Google/Nielsen study, about 4% of all mobile searches are for financial information, and that’s a really broad category. When it comes to commercial mortgages and SBA 504 loans in particular, it’s more likely that people are searching from their desktop computer. We looked at our metrics, and about 13% of traffic to 504experts.com is from mobile devices. That’s not nothing, but we decided it’s not enough to warrant a rush redesign of our entire site. If you don’t already track where your traffic is coming from and what users are doing on your site, you ought to get started with Google Analytics. You might learn some interesting things about how people interact with your website and how you can improve it.
But don’t think mobile doesn’t matter.
Just because Google’s new mobile-friendly search algorithm might not hurt your non-mobile SEO…and just because you don’t get gobs of mobile traffic to your website…that doesn’t mean that you can ignore the trend toward mobile technology and use. You might be in the same boat as us — our current site was built in early 2011 and it wasn’t built with mobile browsing in mind. Rightly or wrongly, we decided that our mobile traffic wasn’t substantial enough to invest in making our sites responsive back then. Even our email metrics at the time told us that most people were reading emails on their desktop computers rather than their mobile devices. But four years is a long time in the internet/technology world, and we’re getting to the point where we need to make some changes, not the least of which is becoming mobile-friendly. That said, we weren’t prepared to scramble and pay a small fortune to meet Google’s new mobile standards by April 21st.
Mobile-friendly may be easier than you think.
If your site is built on WordPress, chances are you’re already mobile-friendly. Or you likely have the option of getting to mobile-friendliness by choosing a new responsive template. Our site runs on WordPress, but it was custom-coded so it’s not as simple as selecting a new template for us. However, Google recommends several resources that work pretty seamlessly to convert existing content to a mobile-friendly format: Jetpack, WPTouch, and WP Mobile Detector. Of the three, we chose WPTouch and found that it was pretty easy to set up. There’s a free version (which is pretty robust) and a paid version with additional themes and options. So far it seems to be a pretty nice solution if you’re looking for a quick fix like we were. We’ll be exploring the paid option and will report our findings soon. Our blog (504blog.com) is currently mobile-friendly thanks to WPTouch, and we’ll be installing the plugin on 504experts.com soon (it’s a larger and more complex site, and we think it will require a little more attention to get set up properly).
Mobilegeddon and you…
So, should you panic about mobilegeddon? No. Should you consider making your website(s) mobile-friendly anyway? Yes. Can you do that without investing a bunch of money to redesign your site right this minute? Yep. If you’re at all curious about WPTouch and how it works, we’ll be glad to share what we’ve learned. Post any questions in the comments below or email our Marketing Director Trey at firstname.lastname@example.org and he’ll get back to you right away. We’re by no means experts at this, but we might know just enough to be helpful.
Thanks for reading, and please share this with anyone you know who’s still worried about mobilegeddon. Friends don’t let friends panic needlessly about SEO…
– Your 504 Experts