Google Now Rewarding Mobile-Friendly Websites

Today Google rolled out an algorithm change that is designed to reward websites that are “mobile-friendly” and demote those that aren’t. What does this mean and how might this impact your business?

mobile-friendly-websites

First, we think it’s important to remember the goal of Google’s search engine, which is to deliver its users (people who search for things on Google) the best experience possible. Google’s job is to match the intent of the searcher with the best possible results. There are many factors that go into its ranking of one site over another and those so called ‘ranking factors’ are always in motion. However, in light of growing mobile usage, one of the factors that has risen in importance is having a website that is “friendly” for mobile users. 

What does it mean to be mobile-friendly?

Google wants people who access your website via a mobile device to have a good experience. According to Google, this means it should meet the following criteria as detected by Googlebot:

  • Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
  • Uses text that is readable without zooming
  • Sizes content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
  • Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped

How can I test if my website is mobile-friendly?

One way to know if your site is mobile-friendly is to check it against Google’s own indexing. You can look at your listing in mobile search results and see if it has the mobile friendly label.

Here’s an example:

mobile-friendly-label

You can also check your pages with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test

What happens if my website isn’t mobile-friendly?

It depends. Mobile traffic now makes up an estimated 60 percent of all web traffic but your own web traffic might be different. If your traffic from mobile users is small and your site isn’t optimized for mobile, you probably won’t notice the difference even if your search rankings take a hit. The impact might just be incremental. However, if your traffic from mobile is high (our hotel clients tend to be in this category), the lack of a mobile-friendly site could result in a significant decline in traffic from Google Search and that could be very impactful.

If I don’t get a lot of traffic from mobile do I need to worry about this?

Yes! While you might not be impacted today, it is a very good idea to recognize the growing trend of mobile and understand that while your visitors might not come from mobile right now, statistics show that more people are planning to go “mobile only.” Consider this your wake up call and start working toward meeting the mobile-friendly goal soon.

Will all of my rankings be impacted?

The Google mobile-friendly algorithm update impacts searches from mobile only. It has no affect on searches from desktops or tablets. It has also been reported that the algorithm change will not impact Google’s local search results from mobile, which should be a relief to many of our clients who are non-mobile friendly and rely on local search.

How can I fix my site?

Google supports three mobile configurations: responsive web design, dynamic serving, and separate URLs. Responsive design is Google’s recommended approach because it focuses on offering a consistent experience with one URL for all content. Responsive designs can also be expanded easily to accommodate new devices as they emerge. 

Every site is different so we invite you to talk to us about how we would approach transforming your site from its current configuration to a responsive design.


What is Inbound Marketing?

What The Heck is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing is the process of attracting people to your website who actually care about what you have to say. It’s about creating content that people are interested in consuming. It’s about admitting that the old way of marketing – interruptive advertising – just doesn’t work anymore.

What is Inbound Marketing

It’s marketing and selling your products with authenticity and transparency.

It’s what people want. 

You may have heard Inbound Marketing referred to by different names. Some people call it Content Marketing or SEO or Social Media. The truth is Inbound Marketing is all of these things and more. 

Inbound Marketing is a Puzzle

Inbound marketing is like a puzzle – but not because it’s confusing. It’s a puzzle in the sense that it’s made up of many pieces. Pieces that should not stand on their own, but when put together, make total sense. To truly succeed online, business need to have a comprehensive strategy inclusive of all the pieces in the puzzle. Assembling the pieces together into one, cohesive strategy is the key to marketing success.

Four Core Pillars of Inbound Marketing

In order for your Inbound Marketing program to be successful, it needs to deliver in four key areas:

Traffic Generation

Generating more traffic for a website is like a recipe: you will need the proper mix of ingredients but there’s no one single formula for success. Rather, it’s a set of strategies and supporting tools working together. Those strategies are Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Customer-Oriented Blogging and Social Media sharing. All three working together will ensure an adequate supply of targeted traffic to your site. 

Lead Generation

So you’ve optimized your content, your’re blogging regularly and you’re getting some content shared on social media. Great start. But just because you have traffic coming in, doesn’t mean you’re getting any leads.

This is where premium content, landing pages and great calls-to-action come into play.  

Lead generation is a tacit quid pro quo between the marketer and customer. You have to convince your potential customer that what they’re getting (information) is worth more than what they’re giving up (their name and email address). Giving away useful customer-focused, problem solving content in exchange for information is one of the best ways to do this.  The amount of information you ask of them is directly related to how valuable the content you’re giving away. The more valuable the info, the more information you can ask of them.  

Once you have their name and email address, you can begin the process of nurturing leads toward sales. 

Sales Conversion

Would you consider someone who Likes you on Facebook a lead? Would you consider someone who downloads your whitepaper a lead?

The truth is that not all “leads” are created equal. 

That’s why managing your leads realistically while taking the long term view is a key part of converting leads to sales. Lead nurturing and segmented email campaigns are your primary tools for converting your leads into sales over time. 

Analysis & Measurement

One of the great advantages of internet marketing is access to data. With the proper tools such as Hubspot or Google Analytics 5.0, you can track almost everything about your site visitors.

The reports you generate should tie directly back to the goals you’ve set for the business. Is your goal to increase site traffic? Is your goal to improve traffic from social networks? Is your goal to increase conversion of your existing site visitors? All of these can be reported on analyzed. 

Remember, data doesn’t lie. It doesn’t matter what your boss wants to do or what some article says you should do. If the data shows that you’re not meeting your goals, change tactics and try again. Your inbound marketing program should be a continuous process of testing, measuring and tweaking. 

Making the Leap to Inbound Marketing

If your business is looking to consistently and affordably generate leads over time without annoying your customers, Inbound Marketing is something you should look into.

Spark Inbound Marketing is a full service inbound marketing agency that can help you make the leap to Inbound Marketing. We don’t promise overnight success but we do promise a system that delivers results over time.

Drop us a line, we love to talk about this stuff!


30 Marketing Tips in 30 Days: Marketing Tip #27 – Soup Up Your Analytics Account

Every website we know has set up tracking through a Google Analytics account. This basic information is critical to the success of your site, but Analytics can be customized in many, many ways to help you even more.

In a previous post, we’ve mentioned the importance of setting up Goals in Analytics, but here we list a few more ways to tweak your account to make your tracking data more effective.

  • Set up “Events” to track outbound links and PDF downloads. Analytics Help can show you how to write custom scripts to modify the links to external pages or PDF documents on the site so Analytics will count how many times they are clicked by your visitors. These action counts will display in your Analytics report under Content/Events at three levels of detail.
  • Use your Benchmark report. Most industry verticals are included in this comparative data Analytics provides. You can access a general report that shows your performance on basic measures like visits, pageviews, and bounce rate compared to sites of similar size. Better, choose to share your traffic data with Google and you can choose which industry (and often which industry segment) for which you want to be compared, and get more highly targeted reports relevant to your market niche.  You can use the data to determine which areas of your site need work.
  • Do you run an Ecommerce site?  If you do, definitely define the site as Ecommerce in Analytics to get detailed reports on purchases right along with the rest of your traffic data. Your developer or webmaster will know how to connect Analytics to your shopping cart. Analytics will report the value of sales by product or service, SKU, or category, and allows you to compare traffic sources by sales just like any other Goal. This data is perfect for evaluating traffic sources for yield, cost per sale, and sales conversion rate.
  • Use Annotations to track when important events take place on your website. Analytics allows you to insert comments by date so you will know when important changes or promotions took place.  You can use this information to evaluate the impacts of different events like email newsletters or specific promotions on your traffic, clicks, and conversions.
  • Create Advanced Segments to view important subsets of your data. Navigate to the ‘Advanced Segments’ pulldown at the top of Reports and choose ‘Create a new custom segment’. A screen will open that allows you to select which ‘Dimensions’ and ‘Metrics’ you want to use to define your segment. For example, you can make a segment based on geographic source of visits to be measured by ecommerce performance.  Making several of these segments will generate comparative reports in your main Analytics views so you can see graphically where your best performing traffic comes from.

Analytics keeps adding important features, and still all free. Make use of this data to get the most out of your Inbound Marketing investment.