Is your web site mobile ready? Do you care?
On April 21st, Google made changes to its mobile search algorithm that Google feels are mobile friendly sites and will promote them with more weight than a non-mobile site. I suppose the giant is allowed to decide if all the web sites in the world are up to snuff. Anyway, it appears that Brad Ewald, Principal and Founder of Boulder Marketing Technology decided to put Fortune 500 companies to the test. The result was 44% of Fortune 500 sites failed and another 4% did not respond. Is this a big deal? Probably not, as one reader pointed out, the Fortune 500 would probably suffer no damage to brand and probably didn’t care that they weren’t necessarily mobile friendly.
Interesting conundrum. I suppose all of us must cave to Google’s new rules. I don’t necessarily disagree that mobile is the way of the future and sites should be mobile friendly. I’m sure (at least I hope I am) that Google did quite a bit of research before making this change. Currently on our web site, less than 15% of site visitors typically access the site via mobile. Not that I would like to lose any visitor, it is not an overwhelming number, at least not right now. On the other hand, as a technology company our site should be mobile friendly, simply because of what we do.
My opinion, is it should be the decision of the organization, not Google, and depends greatly on the individual marketing strategy. IBM did not fare well in the above test. Does it need to? Probably not. Wal-Mart was number one in the mobile friendly sites listing. Does that make sense, yes as business to consumer sites would rate mobile friendly as a decisive marketing advantage.
But what is the real issue? The problem is of course money, 90% of Google sales come from on-line advertising, annual revenue growth has dipped to 10%, and expenses have grown to 75% of sales. The consumer shift to mobile is hurting Google’s on-line advertising. The three reasons provided by Steve Tobak in his article, ‘What the heck happened to Google?’ he states the following as the real issues:
1. Search advertising, where Google is strong, is becoming more and more fragmented as users migrate to searches within mobile apps as opposed to search engines.
2. Display advertising, where Google is weak, is a far bigger piece of the advertising pie on mobile devices than on desktop computers.
3. Advertisers pay less per mobile ad click.
I guess we are at the mercy of Google until they figure out a different way to make money. Is your site mobile ready? Does your organization care?