Vende Buzz: And So, It Begins…. Mobile First and Google Search

by Ray Larson
  |  October 14, 2016  |  
October 14, 2016

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Don’t say we didn’t warn ya.  

Google is taking another step in the march towards “Mobile First”, which will someday be “Mobile.” Period.  If your site isn’t designed for mobile devices – you are about to lose out.

Google has just announced that it is splitting its desktop search from search on mobile and the two sets of results may not match.  This is part of Google’s complicated plan to hog all of the attention – or keep Facebook from grabbing anymore of your time.  

The need for speed.  Mobile-ready, mobile first – and eventually mobile-always.  

A while back, Google announced its “AMP” initiative – intended to force content-heavy sites like news organizations to “hurry up already.”  Accelerated Mobile Pages is a cooperative plan to streamline coding of websites so that pages load FAST.  If it takes too long – certain websites get dropped down the search page.  Large publishers would lose out big-time if they can’t keep up.  How does this tie into mobile?  Sit tight.

Though part of the AMP program is a feel-good, group effort.  But, really, the incentive is the punishment of a drop on the search page.  Basically, if you aren’t on the first page – forget it.  You aren’t going to be seen – and publishers aren’t immune.  Google figures (and has stats to back it up) that if something takes too long – users walk away (and probably go to Facebook).  You only have about 2 seconds before you lose HALF of your customers.  

In a round-about way, the latest announcement is also about speed …and same as the AMP program, is using Google’s best punishment to get there.  “Traditional” (as in old) websites are cumbersome and slow – and may not look good or function well on a mobile device.  

For at least a couple of years, we have been talking about the need for your website to be mobile-friendly, optimally – mobile first.  Mobile friendly means that a website can be easily viewed on a mobile device, usually this has been accomplished by taking your old website and modifying it for smart devices. Mobile first means that a website was designed for mobile devices before even thinking about a desktop.  Why?

Google doesn’t care how ugly your old website is but it does care about how fast it is and it doesn’t really like having two different versions so they are forcing the issue.  In the next couple of months they will be splitting their search algorithm into a mobile index – which will be the “primary index” and will be most influential.  The Desktop search will include pretty much the same results as you get now but since they are making mobile more important, it may not be quite as up-to-date.  When a search is done on mobile, the websites that aren’t designed for mobile won’t rank well and you may actually be impossible to find.  Why?

Millennials?

Mostly because of the millennials.  Seems like everything gets blamed on the millennials anyway so we’ll just say it – they are absorbed in electronics which has only contributed to their impatience.  They can find anything they want to know or do, right now and they do it using a bunch of wires in a plastic box that is smaller than a wallet.

Have you ever seen a millennial without a smart-phone? They use mobile devices like an extension of their bodies.  They have never had to do things the hard way.  No dictionaries, no encyclopedias, no typewriters – not even a telephone with a cord.  Information has always been at the end of a some kind of screen attached to a wire-filled plastic box.  They never had to learn about computers – they always knew but, even though they started using computers in kindergarten or before – they moved on.  Half of them don’t own a desktop, one-third don’t own any type of computer….not even a netbook.  They use smart devices to do everything.  

Other generations are following suit but the millennials are trailblazers of a sort.  While most cell-phone users only use their phones for three things, talk, text and pictures – Millennials and more time with the phone than they do with people – two hours a day at least.  Millennials use their electronic body-part for everything – exercise tracking, reading, music, games, making videos, watching movies and most important to you, search.  Their thumbs work at light speed and they want the answer now.  As in “NOW.”  

Fully half of them mostly access the internet mainly through a smart-device but those oldy-moldy websites don’t look good on the mobile phone and aren’t nearly fast enough for the millennials.

Funny thing is – Google’s announcement won’t actually affect the millennials much but it will affect you – if you aren’t mobile first – maybe a lot.

Read about the Google split at The Guardian.

What’s the point?

When Google splits the search streams off into desktop search and mobile search, websites that are not designed for smart-devices won’t rank on the mobile.  Fully half of the millennials mostly access the internet mainly through a smart-device but those oldy-moldy websites don’t look good on the mobile phone, they aren’t nearly fast enough for the millennials and Google wants them gone.  This is their way of forcing the issue. Why?

They may be a little OCD about the speed but remember, Google is in a perpetual battle with Facebook.  The faster their searches are, the longer you stay.  Facebook has been focused on giving you more things to do– while Google has been obsessing over speed. Google wants to keep the millennials and their money – so they are forcing the websites pick up the pace.  

If you haven’t gone mobile – that is mobile first – you are just about to be invisible.  Even if the millennials aren’t your target demographic now – in the not-too-distant future, they will be.  The youngest of them is a full-fledged adult and since there are more of them than any other group, you are going to need them.  

In a Google search, 90% of searches end on the first page so if you aren’t listed well, you may as well not be listed at all and Google wants you to have one version of your website….a mobile version.  You haven’t listened yet but they are getting more serious.

The good news is that there are plenty of techs who can build you a mobile first website and a lot of them are millennials.  Your website will not only run much faster, it will look and function much better too.

Mobile friendly. Mobile first. Mobile, period.  

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