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3 Key Questions Ahead of Google’s ‘Mobile-Friendly’ Algorithm Change

Posted by April 2, 2015
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ecommerce, conversions, abandonment, mobile, google, seo

We’ve been promising you that 2015 is the year of the mobile. In fact we said it in 2014. But now Google have caught up and announced that they’re including mobile-friendliness in their search algorithm from April 21st of this year.


So not only will lack of a fully-fledged mobile strategy cost you conversions on site, it will most likely curtail traffic getting there in the first place.


There are still many unanswered questions regarding the change of strategy, so we thought we’d ask a few of the key ones.


Will Google differentiate between standalone mobile sites and responsive design?

When forming your mobile strategy, there’s a couple of options on the table, and they both have their individual merits.


Responsive design dynamically adapts the content from your site to the dimensions of the screen of any mobile device. It’s cheap, easy to maintain and offers a consistent user journey across all devices. It does not, however, have the seamless user journey of a standalone site.


Your standalone site is a unique URL that entirely separates the mobile from the desktop experience. It requires regular upkeep and linking to content, but it thrives in the UX stakes, with a tailor-made mobile experience.


Which is better? Well it depends on your conversion goals, but if user experience is Google’s reasoning then standalone should trump responsive. But from an SEO perspective having two sites muddies the water. Clarification is needed.


Will online merchants who focus on native apps be penalised?

As we all know, native apps live in a closed environment, unaffected by SEO. So in theory, they’re unaffected by this change in algorithm. Well, not quite.


Many online merchants that invest in an app do so in conjunction with a mobile site or responsive design. They’re in the clear. However, many don’t.


The financial sector is one example, with the majority of online banks having apps for security and fraud reasons, but not a mobile site.


Domino’s pizza is another example. They have a fantastic app, which you’re asked to download when accessing the site, with a seamless user journey from download to delivery. However no mobile site.


Will these online merchants tumble down the rankings even though they’re offering a more than mobile friendly experience?


Is a tablet device considered a mobile device?

Seems a no-brainer, a tablet is a mobile device. However there is some ambiguity here, with Google defining a mobile and mobile device as different channels.


And the announcement clearly states ‘mobile-friendly’, not mobile device friendly. It’s likely the two are going to be treated as one and the same, but it’s definitely worth considering and needs clarification.


When getting down to the nitty-gritty of your mobile strategy, the new changes are open to interpretation. What isn’t is the need to have a site that is accessible across all channels. Browsing on mobile devices has surged past that of its desktop counterpart, so if you’re not going mobile, you’re leaving conversions on the table.


To read more blogs on conversion rate optimisation, please click here.

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