By Christine Nelson
In April 2015, Google began to include mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal for search — improving rankings for websites that are mobile friendly and demoting websites that are not. That means if your website is not mobile friendly, it is less likely to show up in mobile searches. Because more than 50 percent of online traffic is now going through mobile devices, this change affects your website’s ability to be found online.
Your website reflects the kind of experience customers believe they will have with you. When customers are looking for the products and services you offer, Google has to find and choose your site. Here are a few easy tips to make Google love your website.
1. Assess your mobile-friendliness
If your website font is too small to read on a tablet, it’s less likely that visitors will stay and read about your business or buy its products and services. A simple way to find out if your website is mobile friendly is by using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool, which reviews your website and explains which elements are not mobile friendly and how to fix them.
2. Ask more questions
More people are conducting Internet searches like a conversation with their smart phones. They are typing in (or speaking) questions like:
When updating your website content, ask questions in your copy, then answer them. Doing so will help Google match users’ smart phone questions to your site and content.
3. Pinpoint your best referral sites
Google will show you which pages are “referring” traffic to your website the most. Log into your website’s Google analytics and view the “referring pages” statistics, where you will see a list of website addresses that have referred traffic to your website.
Referring pages can tell you, for example, if an article published in an industry journal (or on your business’s Facebook page) resulted in clicks to your website. If the link in that article is a landing page on your website with an offer or call to action, it can even result in new business leads.
4. Use key search phrases strategically
Key search phrases aren’t just for the back end of your website. Use them in the headlines of your Google ads. Add them to the content of an article. Include them in social media posts and the titles of your videos. If you know the phrases you most want to rank to attract visitors, use them in every way you communicate with your audience.
Unless your website is more than three years old, making changes to meet Google’s new expectations should be fairly simple and cost-effective. Even if it’s older, use these tips to point more traffic to your site and counteract its lack of mobile friendliness until you can budget for bigger updates. Websites — and your online brand — require ongoing attention. You need the right messages getting to the right type and volume of visitors. A strong online brand supports your business goals — whether that is for new customers, talent or investors.
Christine Nelson is a lead communications consultant for Ingenuity, a brand strategy firm that focuses on marketing, websites, sales messaging, social media and public relations to boost your competitive edge. Contact her at Christine@ingenuitymarketing.com or (651) 690-3358 or visit www.ingenuitymarketing.com.