Google Algorithm Rewards Mobile-Friendly Sites

Google Mobile AlgorithmOn Tuesday, April 21, 2015 Google rolled out its new “Google Mobile Algorithm” update, and if your site is not mobile-friendly you have most likely been removed from search results on mobile devices.

This can have a significant impact to any online business whether you are an Internet Retailer or focused on lead generation in the B2B space. If you are not yet convinced that creating a mobile-friendly site is important, consider the following:

  • More Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan.1
  • In March, for the first time, the number of mobile-only adult internet users exceeded the number of desktop-only internet users, in part due to declining desktop usage (see chart below).2
  • Search is the most common starting point for mobile research.  48% start on search engines.3
  • 27% of consumers will leave a site if it is not mobile-optimised. 4
  • For online retailers in Q2 20155:
    • Smartphone visits grew by 269 percent over Q1 2014
    • Smartphone orders were up 104 percent, and reached 13 percent of all transactions
    • Overall mobile devices (including tablets) represented 41 percent of traffic in Q1 2015
    • Cumbersome checkout processes and high abandoned shopping carts remain a significant issue for mobile eTail sites

Single Platform Users' Share of Total Digital Population

Google has been very vocal on its stance about mobile in the past year, so this algorithm update is not surprising.
Let’s recap several recent mobile moves by Google:

  • November 2014: Google adds the “Mobile-Friendly” label in mobile search results, which looks like this:

Mobile Friendly Label

  • January 2015: Google begins to warn webmasters (via Webmaster Tools) of mobile issues on their websites. In fact, these were all labeled as warnings and webmasters were able to view each issue (or warning) in detail and take steps to correct it. This was the telltale sign an algorithm update was coming.
  • Late February: Google officially announced this algorithm change on its Webmaster Central Blog:
  • “Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

  • April 21, 2015:  The Google mobile algorithm is released (dubbed “Mobilegeddon”, effectively unleashing panic and chaos to business owners across the globe.
  • End of April 2015: Breadcrumbs begin to display in mobile search results (U.S. only). Thus, it is important to have clearly labeled, keyword friendly directory structures. If you do not like what Google is showing as your breadcrumbs, you can add schema markup language to your pages that define exactly what you want the breadcrumb to be (see They look like this:


Take the Test

Not sure if your website is mobile friendly? Test it here:

If you passed, congratulations! You are good to go and can stop reading this article right now, if you so choose.

Failed the test? Well, you have some options. You can:

  • Do nothing (probably not the best choice)
  • Build a mobile app (probably not necessary, costly and cumbersome)
  • Build a mobile version of your website (why do this when you can go responsive?)
  • Go responsive (this is Google’s preferred method, read on for more)

Why Responsive?

  • Webmasters and marketers like it. It’s one website for all screens. One set of code, one set of SEO, one place to update your website.
  • Users like it. One URL, no redirects. It’s the same content so no matter what screens a visitor views your site on it’s the same experience.
  • Google LOVES it. Enough said. But really, it’s because Google is all about the user experience and responsive sites are better in this regard. Plus, it means Googlebot only has to crawl one site, getting through the content and indexing it much more efficiently.

Points to be Made

There are few things to keep in mind about this mobile algorithm update.

  • This was pretty big. It’s still big. Ignore at your peril.
  • It runs in real-time. So if you don’t have a mobile site yet, but launch one next week Google will start to index and show your site on mobile searches the next time it re-crawls your site. In contrast, previous algorithm updates like Google Penguin and Panda were triggered to run on certain dates, not in real-time.
  • Analysis is done on a page-by-page basis. Meaning that if you have a few pages that are not mobile friendly Google will simply penalize and not show those pages, not your entire site.  You may also see several pages show in results at one, all will be marked as mobile-friendly, if they in fact are.

Page by Page

The Fallout

When it comes to Google, we all have a penchant for drama. There are a few things we learned in weeks immediately following “mobilegeddon”.

  • The sky didn’t fall.
  • The algorithm itself took weeks to fully make its way across the web and remove or “boost” sites accordingly. In fact, even by the time this article is published you may see fluctuations.
  • After a mobile-friendly site goes live, Google can re-include it in mobile search results in as little as 24 hours. We have seen eCommerce sites take longer, since they are generally larger, and the algorithm crawls sites page-by-page.
  • We have seen non-mobile friendly sites still rank in mobile results. This is especially true for brand searches. For example, if you search for “Coca-Cola” you are still going to see first in results (whether it’s mobile-friendly or not), as it is the most relevant site to show you. After all, Google is all about relevancy.
  • We have gathered the following statistics for our clients since 4/21 (average range, across multiple industries):
    • 10-25% drop in traffic from mobile devices for non-mobile friendly sites
    • 15-30% increase in mobile traffic for mobile-friendly websites

Final Thoughts

There are probably still some of you out there who think that you don’t really need a mobile site or it may not be a good investment at this time. We hear this a lot, especially from our B2B clients who think that their audience or customers do not visit their site from mobile devices. Here’s some food for thought…

Stop thinking in terms of B2B and B2C. Mobile usage is growing. People search and visit sites on their mobile devices all the time, regardless of personal or professional intentions. They expect a seamless and optimized experience every time they do, no matter what device they are using.

Take a look at your analytics data. Fuel your case for a mobile site (or not) by looking at how many people visit your site from a mobile device or tablet. How many actually stay? Is your bounce rate high, is your conversion rate low? If so, it may be time to go mobile. You could essentially be “leaving money on the table” and not even realize it.

For more information on Google’s mobile algorithm update, and others, we recommend visiting the Webmaster Central Blog frequently.


  1. Google internal data, courtesy of
  2. Data courtesy of
  3. Data courtesy of
  4. ExactTarget, 2014 Mobile Behavior Report
  5. Data courtesy of Q1 2015 study from

Google Algorithm Rewards Mobile-Friendly Sites

On Tuesday, April 21, 2015 Google will roll out its new “Google Mobile Algorithm” update, and if your site is not mobile-friendly you should be prepared.

This algorithm update, which will be larger than previous updates such as Google Panda (targeting content) and Google Penguin (targeting links), will essentially remove websites from mobile search results that are not mobile-friendly. Thus, rewarding those that are.

Google has been very vocal on its stance about mobile recently, so this announcement is not surprising.


Exclude Your Unwanted Referral Sources

Referral TrafficSo you want to remove some unsightly referral sources from your Google Analytics reports, but your referral exclusions aren’t working (or are working inconsistently) and you don’t know where to go…

Website reporting can be a daunting task to begin with, so when you’re also battling skewed data from bogus referral sites it can make your life that much more gloomy.

Rest assured, there is a way to remove unwanted referral sources from your CUSTOM reports that I have found to be useful and actually effective.

Note that this method is solely cosmetic on custom reports as the data is still visible in Google Analytics.  Think of it as you having the ability to see your sites referral sources with the garbage you don’t want, but also being able to see your sites referral data WITHOUT that same garbage.  Everyone loves options.

Removing referral sources from your custom reports:

  • Go to your traffic sources custom report
  • Click ‘Edit’ near the top left
  • Under the ‘Filters’ section select “add filter”
  • In the text box type “Full Referrer”
  • Change the “Include” drop down to “Exclude”
  • Type in the desired referral source you wish to filter out of your reports
    • Ex., “development sites”
  • For additional filters repeat steps 1 thru 6

One of the downsides to this feature though, is that you have only a limited number of filters that you can apply at one time (up to 5).  If you are to utilize this method, check in from time to time to see if the referral no longer hits your site and you can use it on another referral source if needed.

It’s All in the Cards… Twitter Cards, that is!

Twitter Cards

Twitter began rolling ­out a new experience for users with its release of Twitter Cards in the summer of 2012. Since its inception, Twitter Cards have become a vital marketing tool for social media marketers, developers, and the like.

Twitter Cards are designed to make a splash in a sea of text. The end user is presented with media-rich tweets that provoke visual interest through the use of images, video, product information, and more.

There are seven different Card types:

By simply adding seven short lines of HTML code to your webpage, users who share your content or links to your site will have one of these Cards added to their Tweet. These Cards are set apart from the rest of the Twitter stream and ultimately increase the likelihood for web clicks and retweets.

Summary Card

Example of a Summary Card

Picture Source: Social Media Examiner

Lets face it – our society is pretty lazy! If users are presented with text and a link, they have to take that extra step to click on the link to actually see what the Tweet is about. Although this process takes only a few seconds, it’s more convenient for the end user to have an image, video, or product information presented to them right then and there as opposed to having to click on a link to see if it’s even worth their time or interest.

Product Card

Example of a Product Card

Picture Source: Social Media Examiner

Twitter Cards (product cards in particular) also cater to impulse buys. Product Cards often include an image, price, and information about the product. When all of this information is presented in the newsfeed, a consumer is more likely to act on it. This is saving them time from having to decide whether or not to click on the link and then having that extra time as the product page loads to rethink their buying decision.

So go ahead, get started! Stop drowning in a sea of text on your Twitter feed! Make a splash and stand out with Twitter Cards.

Tips for Writing Killer Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

Meta Description and Title TagsIronically, in the world of Internet marketing, the one consistency is that search engines, SEO tactics, strategies, practices, etcetera are constantly changing. After the several Google updates over the past few years, especially those from 2014, the following tips for writing title tags and meta description can help you improve your click through rate.


Blocking Spam Referral Sources in .htaccess

Website CrawlerAs you may know many spam websites send crawlers to websites to scrape data, do ecommerce price comparison for other online dealers and sometimes even submit false leads or form submissions. Most of all, these spam website send an inaccurate number of referral visits to our analytics reports. Sure these sites are actually visiting our website, but usually for seconds and then bouncing immediately. This hurts in 2 major ways:


Facebook Updates 2015: What Marketers Need to Pay Attention to

In my opinion, Facebook takes the lead ahead of all social media channels for making the most updates in the shortest amounts of time. As a result, my routine often feels like: eat, sleep, catch up on Facebook changes, and repeat. Seriously Mark Zuckerberg, let me get a shower in before you change something else. Anyhow, as social media marketers, we’ve got adjusting to these changes in the bag. Don’t let the constant changes stress you out. Here are the ones you need to pay the most attention to right now.

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