By Grant King, Digital Marketing Director, IHC Dubai

Some online marketers have referred to this month as “Google-mageddon” for many website owners. This may be a slight over-reaction, but it is certainly one of the single largest changes Google has made in recent years to its Search Englne Optimisation (SEO) algorithmic requirements. If your website does not meet Google’s new search engine criteria introduced this month, you’ll risk your website moving down the search engine results ranking pages, and may end up unread on page 50! For many businesses relying on Google as their principle sales or lead generator, this is an important change that cannot be ignored and could spell disaster for your bottom line if not correctly addressed.

D-day for your website…

Google set April 21, 2015 as the deadline for websites to ensure they are mobile-friendly. Google has stated that its systems will prioritise search engine results for mobile-friendly websites from this day, and those that do not meet the requirements risk being penalised with downgraded rankings. Consequently, thousands of UAE businesses could have their websites gradually bumped down Google’s search rankings if they have not met the mobile-friendly requirements from this month.
Why is this change necessary?

Last year, the number of mobile device users accessing the web surpassed PC and laptop users for the first time in history, and the amount of users using mobile devices to access the web can now be as high as 80 percent.

Increasingly, people prefer visiting websites through mobile devices, such as smartphones or tablets, instead of laptops and computers. Mobile-enabled websites tend to be preferred by most users since they are fast and easy to use from a mobile device, with larger navigation buttons and automatically re-sized text and content.


What does Google have to say?

In a recent survey released by Google, two-thirds of smartphone users said a mobile-friendly site makes them more likely to buy a company’s product or service, and 74% said they’re more likely to return to the site later. “Mobile is creating massive opportunity,” says Jason Spero, head of Google’s global mobile sales and strategy.

Over 60 percent said that if they don’t find what they’re looking for (probably within about five seconds), they’ll click away to another site. Half said  even if they like a business, they’ll use its site less often if it doesn’t work well on their smartphone. “This is a wakeup call,” says Spero. “You will lose customers at the moments that matter” without a site specifically made for mobile devices.


About half of listed company websites are not Mobile-friendly

If your website is not currently mobile-friendly, you are not alone. A recent analysis shows 52 percent of ASX 200-listed companies, including Domino’s Pizza, Coca-Cola Amatil and BHP Billiton, do not have mobile-friendly sites and, consequently, will fall in Google search rankings. Many of these companies are now updating their websites, but it goes to show you how unprepared the business community is to this change.


Easily solved…

The key is to act quickly, check your website is mobile compliant now, and if not, contact your webmaster or digital marketing expert to make the necessary arrangements. This is often a simple matter of clicking an “Mobile-enable” button on your website content management system (CMS), or adding a mobile module to your existing website, and then following up with some further corrective SEO actions.


Quick action now can avoid being penalised.

So the moral of the story is to take corrective action now to ensure mobile-friendly compliance to avoid the risk of your website being bumped down Google’s search engine rankings.


Free Mobile-friendly check-up of your website

For a FREE “mobile-friendly” check-up of your website, contact +971 56 629 0054 and Dubai-based digital marketing agency, IHC will check whether your website is mobile-friendly compliant, and also provide an initial review of SEO credentials or corrective action at no cost.

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