Google brings the hammer down on non-mobile friendly websites
The statistic is that about 73% of the people searching the internet these days do it on mobile devices and yet only about 20% of the companies have mobile friendly websites. So, about 3 out of every 4 searches on the web is via mobile and only 1 in 5 businesses have mobile optimized websites. You have to understand that Google manages two different indices for search data. The first one is the “desktop index” which is what we’ve all become accustomed to over the last 15 years or so. The second is the “mobile index” which is how they manage and track searches done from mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, etc. If you compare the two, you’ll see very different results. Now they are enforcing what they’ve found by managing those two indices – that a mobile experience must be optimized to be user friendly. We’ve all opened a website on our smartphone only to be greeted with tiny text and no practical navigation. This is what Google’s current war is against and it makes perfect sense. Mobile searchers are in the majority and they should get the most user friendly and actionable results from their searches.
The fallout is three-fold. First, Google will rank your site less than comparable sites than are mobile friendly. Secondly, since you’re being ranked less favorably you’ll get less traffic and third, the traffic you do get won’t have a good experience if they’re using their mobile device! This went into effect last month (April 21st, 2015) so if you’ve noticed any lessening of traffic in the past few weeks, this could be the culprit. Fortunately, for many of us, the fix is not too difficult.
***I should note that Google has said that lack of a Mobile Friendly site will NOT negatively affect your desktop search results. They are not penalizing your desktop search results because they aren’t mobile friendly but your mobile search results will be affected. Regardless, the writing is on the wall and you should take action quickly to ensure your site is mobile friendly. (more…)
Does Google know you?
As a business owner, it’s critical that prospective customers can find you and in today’s world, that means, to a very large extent, that they can find you on Google. I know a few companies that exist strictly on word-of-mouth and they do just fine but that is not the norm by any means. If your business relies on local customers, for example, then your “Local SEO” should be optimized. If, however, your business is worldwide in nature, then local SEO is less important and you should focus on world-wide SEO.
An example of critical “Local SEO” would be an air conditioning service company in your home town. They don’t want or need anybody in another state or country to know they exist – there’s no way they would become a customer. The only benefit would be possible linking from other air conditioning/HVAC/Heating types of sites to their own to raise their website’s rankings but that’s about it. For the most part, the local HVAC repairman is interested in his town and the surrounding areas.
To this end, the focus keywords on his site and in his SEO efforts should be something like: “air conditioning”, “hvac”, “heating and air”, “specialist”, “home town”, “nearby town 1”, “nearby town 2”. The idea is that the website itself should focus on the local area and the keywords of the business. A great practice, and one becoming increasingly more beneficial to SEO, is to product fairly lengthy, highly informative, and easy to read articles. As they say “content is king”, but it has to be good content, well written, and topical. Timely is helpful also. (more…)
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
The arcane art of ensuring your or a customer’s website bubbles up to the first page of Google is what search engine optimization (SEO) is all about. Extreme SEO would be ensuring said website hits one of the “olympic” spots – first, second, or third (gold, silver, bronze). Bear in mind there are two parts of this puzzle. The website you’re trying to rank and the keywords you’re trying to rank it for. So saying your site ranks first on Google really doesn’t mean anything if you can’t qualify that statement with a useful (and valuable) keyword search.
“My site ranks on the first page on Google for the keyword search ‘ancient dog paranoia of the Ming Dynasty'” means very little because really, who is searching for that? Sure, you can spin up a site and probably rank for that tomorrow. But ranking for something valuable is more difficult and the competition can be very strong.
It’s also important to note that there are two more considerations and they are “on page” and “off page” SEO.
On Page SEO is what you do to your website to let Google know it’s relevance. Off Page SEO is how other websites interact with your site, linking to it with good strong links (hopefully). You have 100% control over your on page SEO so you must focus on it quite a bit. The off page SEO is largely out of your hands. You can ask for links, you can comment on blogs with a backlink, you can even buy links back to your site but the best approach to improving your off page SEO is to have a very strong site with excellent content that other people find and want to link back to. Pull that off, and your SEO rankings will soar. (more…)