Google hates your m-dot site
We like to think of Google as such a helpful, question-answering, contact-finding, communication-friendly, world-dominating home of daily doodles and other searchable joys, but when Google stops liking you, or more specifically your website, you’ve got problems.
If your business has a cut-down mobile version website, then you need to prioritise an upgrade to a mobile responsive site before the new year, because that is when the world’s dominant search engine will switch to a mobile-first index.
That might not sound so very dire, until you realise that the -just-the-basics easy-for-fingers-but-painful-for-bigger-screens mobile site is what everyone will see, even on desktops and laptops and all that valuable information on your full site will be all but invisible as it wallows in the murky shadows of poor search rankings.
CEO of Australian SEO marketing company StewArt Media, Jim Stewart, said businesses of all sizes need to heed the warnings, with a number of big Australian brands still running separate mobile sites that hail from the days of phones that struggled to access websites. Yes, an SEO expert telling you that you need to spend money on a new website is a little bit like an insurance company telling you that if you want to have some credit left on your card after a visit to the orthodontist that you need to upgrade your cover. It's probably not what you want to hear, but you get the point.
“In many cases [a mobile version of a website] is a cut-down version of the full website which only provides limited information and functionality,” Stewart said.
“When Google moves to a mobile-first index early next year, these businesses are going to lose a lot of traffic to their websites.
“As far as Google is concerned, separate mobile sites, that in many cases don’t provide the full range of information that is available on a regular website, will become the most important piece of content for these businesses. This will result in a significant drop in web traffic because the information that is hidden on the mobile site isn’t searchable.
“To make matters worse, if a company has two websites, Google may only index the mobile site which means people searching from a PC will have this version displayed on their desktop, creating display issues and a dodgy user experience. Obviously, this does nothing to encourage repeat visits.
“The other problem for businesses operating separate mobile sites it that they need a whole separate site for desktop – which just means they have the hassle and cost associated with maintaining two separate websites.”
Mobile responsive technology that will automatically resize your website for all devices – from big screen desktops to tablets to phone screens – has been around for years. If your business site isn’t responsive, it’s time to chat to your web developer.