We can’t say Google didn’t warn us… All the way back in 2016 they were announcing the move to mobile first indexing. They’ve been more than patient by taking over two years to roll out the changes that directly influence who gets clicks – and therefore money – from Google search.
But here we are in 2019 and the initiative is nearly complete. As a result up to 46.6% of all websites lost ranking – and revenue – by not being ready. More on that later…
All this change hit our industry fast, but it has honestly been a big boost for our clients since we’ve been designing responsive – mobile friendly – websites for years now. On the other hand, we’ve seen sites that were not 100% ready get left behind resulting in lost revenue and in many cases, the business owner is completely unaware of the exact reason why the phone stopped ringing.
Some have gone as far as to call it ‘mobilegeddon’ due to the shakeup in Google ranking that’s definitely had an impact on offline local businesses that rely on customers finding them through Google.
Over half of the websites that are online today are now being evaluated by Google’s mobile-first index and back in May we got the news that all new websites will be graded based on how well users can interact with the pages on a smartphone. If you haven’t made the update yet though, it’s really easy to get back in Google’s good graces with a mobile-friendly face-lift.
But can we really quantify the lost revenue or is this just another scare tactic local businesses can ignore? It turns out there’s data to prove that Google massively devalued almost 50% of all websites on page #1 for not being mobile-friendly:
Ouch! Why Google, why???
To be honest, they’re really looking out for your best interest here. I say that because bad website design can push potential customers away. Google realized that most people search on a phone now and that they needed to only rank sites on page #1 that work well on a 4G network. They’re literally forcing you to do a better job of converting clicks to customers on your website. That’s a good thing! 📲💰😃
If the majority of Google’s users searching for local businesses are on a smartphone, that means the majority of your potential customers near you do the same. If they have to wait half a minute for your sales page to load or if it’s so badly designed that they have to swipe back and forth to read your sale copy, just plan on them tapping back to Google and calling up your competition. That’s of course assuming you’re even still ranking high enough to get clicks which is still possible, just less likely in a mobile-first world.
In the internet marketing world we use terms like ‘conversion rate optimization’ to define how we optimize a page to generate the most revenue possible from the traffic we generate for our clients. Design has a definite ROI for local businesses like yours as it will influence how people perceive your brand all over the web, which can directly lead to sales – or a lack thereof.
What can you do?
A lot of people ask us if we can make their existing website mobile but to be honest, that’s a complete waste of time and money in almost every case. Deciphering ancient codes like an archaeologist and dealing with clunky, outdated CMS platforms can take us days of unexpected work. Why bother when a modern, responsive WordPress rebuild can be done properly by one of our skilled developers in a few days? In almost every case, you’re better off upgrading and then letting Google know your site is now mobile-friendly. More on how to do that in just a bit, but first let’s look at costs.
WP Beginner lists the cost to redesign an informational website anywhere from $100 to $30,000. It’s a wide range because some projects may require more work and you also have to consider the long-term value of a quality design as we mentioned above. When a business website is generating leads, you need to ask yourself how much you can invest in good design instead of trying to cut costs.
Having said that, it definitely does not have to break the bank. Many agencies like ours build projects that would be priced in the $2,000 – $5,000 range upfront without charging an initial fee at all. Instead, we let you save money upfront by offering a 12 month hosting and maintenance agreement that spreads that cost out over several months. You need someone to maintain your site anyway, so why not hold on to your 💵 a little longer?
Testing Mobile Friendliness – How do you know Google Sees Your New Responsive Site?
One of the first things you should do is to simply use one of the free online responsiveness checkers like https://responsivedesignchecker.com/ that will show your site in different resolution viewports. This way, you can take a look yourself to see how your site appears on the most common and recent devices. If everything looks okay there, you should still take a look at what Google has to say as well. We often run into responsiveness issues that Google detects even on pages that look great through a viewport tool. These reported issues can have a direct impact on your ranking, so it’s definitely not a step to skip over!
Assuming you already have access to your Google Search Console, this is an easy task. If not, just reach out to your web developer or call us for help getting access to the valuable information Google provides you free of charge. If you already have your search console account setup and integrated to your site code, simply navigate to https://search.google.com/ to get started. Once you get there, simply login to the correct account and click on mobile usability:
Next you’ll see a screen similar to this. It shows errors over time in a bar chart. Use this to track and ensure that your site remains mobile friendly over time. It’s a great way to make sure your site is being properly maintained and fully qualified to receive mobile traffic from Google:
As you can see above Google lets us know exactly how they grade your site for this important ranking factor. Search Console is also the tool you would use to let Google know you’ve updated your website to a new design that’s mobile-friendly. If you’re planning on upgrading soon, be sure to have your developer request indexing so the new pages are seen – and ranked – as fast as possible.
The choice is yours though on when and how you’re going to update to a responsive site. We suggest making the move soon thought to make sure you’re not missing out on getting more quality leads from Google. Let us know if we can help by filling out the form below: