Google: Mobile Friendly by April 21 or Else

"On April 21st, Google will officially update its search algorithm to consider mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor in Google search results."
Those words are courtesy of SocialMediaToday, shared on Linked in by Relaunch Radio's Gregg Murray. It caused me a red forehead moment and, metaphorically, plopped two dozen manila folders on my desk. Lots of work - little time.

Radio seemed to have just begun accepting that search engine optimization is a required step in being found online. The irony is that it's going to be much harder after April 21. Everyone involved with radio online needs to be concerned.

"Mobile-Friendly" is not a new term, but it has increased in its importance over only a few years. Looking at "how important," in 2011 I shared this graph with you. It shows mobile visits to Audio Graphics' The rise over eighteen months is obvious.
Fast forward to September 2013 and the change in visitors using mobile is astounding. These are six month samples from RadioRow. This is not a fad.

RadioRow Visits by Device

RadioRow Visits by Device

RadioRow Visits by Device

RadioRow Visits by Device

Google's move reflects a desire to deliver a quality user experience based on device. From the SocialMediaToday article, quoting Google: "This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices."

If your web site is not judged "Mobile-Friendly" after April 21 and you use search as a means to grow audience, be prepared. You will disappear from searches conducted on mobile device. (There are dozens of variables affecting your site mobile optimization. The best explanation I've seen for beginners is here.)

Testing your station site is easy using this mobile friendly tester at Google Developers.

When good, the page responds like this. See RadioRow Fail, and you see this.

See Power 105.7

Google does an algorithm "dance" often, but never before has there been such a high level of risk on dropping in returns. After April 21 the device used will govern your station ranking; coupled with the consumer's move to mobile it's not a risk to be taken lightly.

Here's the chuckle, and source of my red forehead moment. Shortly after rebuilding this web site, I read about the upcoming change and then discovered I need to reconfigure - it failed the Mobile-Friendly test. Doh! (Thankfully, the change is minor.)

More information is at Google Developers.

Monday, March 16, 2015      eMail to a Friend

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