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Has the Sky Fallen? Understanding the Impact of Mobilegeddon


Posted on May 4, 2015 in Mobile Comments

You may have heard about "Mobilegeddon", the update to Google's search algorithm that adds mobile-friendly design to the list of signals used to sort search results. What does Google consider mobile-friendly? Primarily, they are looking for pages that are formatted for the screen sizes of mobile devices. They also want to see text that isn’t too small to be read on a tiny smartphone screen, buttons and links that are large enough to tap easily, quick load times, and light graphics and visuals that don’t clutter up the landscape.

The update went into effect April 21 -- so has the sky fallen? Maybe not. But a better understanding of Google’s mobile-friendly update can certainly benefit casino marketers.

Are You Impacted by the Update?

First, it is important to note that the algorithm will apply only to searches that are initiated on a mobile device. Searching from a desktop computer or handheld tablet will still trigger the old algorithm. Keep in mind, however, that 40% of casino website traffic is from mobile devices and up to 60% may be visiting from search, so don't count on desktop and tablet users to keep you afloat.

The bad news for casino owners is that the entertainment industry may feel an impact from the update. This is because customers -- especially out-of-towners -- typically research destinations, menus, entertainment lineups, and get directions from their mobile devices. The good news is that brand-specific searches will not be affected, so if a customer types your casino's name into the search bar, they will still get results centered around your casino. Also, if your site is well-optimized it may still outrank similar sites that are more mobile-friendly.

There will also be a little bit of bounce-back as local searches will not be impacted. Local searches include a city or locality name along with a search term (i.e. “Atlantic City casino"), and the search results are returned in a distinct list that includes the business name, address, and phone number along with a map showing the location of those results.

Complex Formula, Simple Answer

If you think it’s all starting to sound complicated, you’re right. Google algorithms are complex, and multiple factors go into ranking search results. They also maintain a certain amount of secrecy around their algorithms in order to outsmart spammers. So set Google aside for one second and consider this: Do your customers care about mobile-friendly sites? Absolutely. Will it benefit them for your site to be mobile-friendly? Without a doubt. Let us not worry too much more about deciphering Google’s algorithm and stick to the premise that a mobile-friendly site will not only get better results from search, but also provide customers with a great experience.

Is My Site Mobile-Friendly?

Here are some simple ways to find out:

  • Visit the Mobile-Friendly Test page released by Google and pop in your business’s web address. You’ll get a quick answer as to whether Google finds your site mobile-friendly or not.
  • Open a browser window on your mobile device and perform a Google search for your business name. In the results list, you’ll see a gray “Mobile-friendly” note right before the page’s description.
  • Check your site’s speed by popping in the web address on Google’s PageSpeed Insights page. If you fail any of the tests you may need to look at better optimizing your site.

What Now?

If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, is the apocalypse upon us? Of course not! The good news is that once you implement mobile-friendly strategies Google will notice right away.

The best way to go mobile-friendly is to implement a responsive design on your website that automatically adjusts for the screen size. Another option would be the implementation of a separate mobile website. Creating a smaller mobile version of your website may be more budget- or time-sensitive upfront, but maintaining both a mobile and desktop version of your website will have a long-term impact on your resources. In addition, mobile users expect to be able to access all of your content on their smartphones, so a limited site may turn users away.

Do not wait until you start to lose customers or you will have to work double-time to build your web traffic up again. Instead, take the lead and use mobile-friendly design to help your customers find you no matter how they are searching and accessing your website. 

 

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