How is Google’s new update effecting mobile marketing?
They called it “mobilegeddon.” It is not always that Google’s algorithm updates extend far beyond the digital marketing blogosphere and start making waves in mainstream media, but as we saw with their preference for SSL certificates, and now with their mobile-focused algorithm updates, some changes to the search engine’s best practices deserve more attention than digital marketing bloggers and search marketers can provide. As more and more information surfaces about Google’s latest switch to preference sites with a mobile-friendly design and a good user experience (UX) across all devices, we take a look at what this means for restaurateurs and others looking to market their businesses.
Setting the Stage: The State of Mobile Search
Last summer, studies began to abound that suggested that 2014 was going to be the year where mobile usage finally took over desktop usage for global Internet users. They weren’t wrong: Mobile formally overtook desktop usage in 2014, as smartphones, social apps, enterprise apps, and the mobile web became progressively more ubiquitous and ushered in a new generation of Internet users.
As mobile users continued to make up a higher and higher percentage of users visiting websites, Google began to take note. Mobile-friendly tags began appearing next to sites with mobile-friendly pages in Search Engine Results Pages. Similar to the way in which they prepared Webmasters before unleashing their Penguin algorithm into the wild, Google began peppering Webmaster Tools inboxes with messages concerning mobile capability. The launched a tool to help site owners identify whether or not their site was indeed mobile friendly, and then began their PR initiative to talk about the importance of mobile search. Many of these are outlined in some of Google’s support documents, explaining some key reasons about why mobile is an important part of your digital marketing efforts:
- Mobile-friendly sites provide a better UX, turning users into customers
- Not having a mobile-friendly site helps the competition
- Sites that are not mobile-friendly can potentially hurt a company’s reputation
The stats and data that make up that study can be found here, but the key takeaway remains that mobile users are developing and sustaining relationships with sites that offer a good UX on a mobile device. Google is shaping their strategy to suit this change, and wants webmasters to assist in making mobile matter for your users.
Was it Really “Mobilegeddon”?
After Google’s much anticipated mobile algorithm, marketers everywhere were nervously peering at screens of all sizes on April 22, trying to size up the damage of this seemingly significant algorithm update. The good news? The implications of this mobile algorithm update were slightly more subdued than expected. As many reported, Google was keen to ensure that any penalties to a site that wasn’t mobile-friendly were issues on a page-by-page basis. Similarly, even tools like MozCast and their new mobile-specific tool, MozCast mobile, noticed that results were slightly less significant than the hype merited.
What it Means for Marketers
There is no doubt that Google’s mobile algorithm update, if nothing else, publicly signaled a huge call to arms for businesses and restaurants to better market their products to users on all devices, starting with mobile up. As you look to see how you can make the most of mobile, we’ve outlined three ways that restaurants can reignite their mobile marketing.
Responsive or Mobile-Friendly Sites will Inevitably Overtake the Competition
The first and most obvious remedy to any losses in search traffic since April 21 may be segmenting your Analytics to look at drops in mobile data, and ensuring your site is responsive, across the board. Google recommends that a site be responsive first, so that a user can get a congruent experience no matter the size of the screen or device they are using. Speak with your webmaster or designer, and get a sense of what it might take to make every page on your site responsive to screen size and user device. This may help bring more people through the homepage to your menu, and eventually to your table.
If responsive isn’t an option due to the complexity of the site, webmasters may wish to look at mobile site alternatives. Sites like DudaMobile and others offer inexpensive solutions to create mobile friendly sites that dynamically pull content from your desktop site and optimize it for a mobile browsing experience. Prioritize key landing pages, like your menu, and include a click-to-call button to ensure that you are maximizing your menu and getting orders from your customers on the move!
Geotargeting Now More Important Than Ever
Geo-targeting and location-based search has long been a key advantage for businesses as searchers leaned on geocentric terms to help Google serve results that were more specific to their location. However, as more and more searchers let implicit data, like their IP address, dictate their location, it’s increasingly important for websites to be prepared to better geographically target their users.
Mobile searchers will frequently look for locations or brick and mortar restaurants near them; restaurant owners can take advantage of this by looking to use advertising or even optimization techniques to better optimize for their location. Structured data and RDFa, like schema.org, can help signify your exact location and search area so that Google can better serve users in your area your menu or contact information. Similarly, leveraging a product like GeoTargeter may also be a way to reach an audience in your immediate location using targeted advertising that’s location specific.
Cater to Users on the Run
Drill down in Analytics to identify the users that are coming to the site via a mobile device, and find out what pages are getting the most traffic. By segmenting your Analytics data to only look at mobile traffic, you can get telling glimpses to how users on mobile devices may be giving preference to different content. For instance, your menu, specials, or contact page may get crucially important traffic on a mobile device, while a key landing page, like your about page or blog, may only be performing well on desktop.
By learning how users on mobile devices are navigating around your site, you can take action and try to cater your page to ensure it makes the most of your user experience. Feature your specials on the homepage slider, or include a click-to-call button on your contact page. Features like these can enhance the user experience and ensure that mobile visits turn into regular customers!
For more information on how to get the most out of your mobile experience, contact us today.