clock

You have 15 seconds…..GO!

If you run the typical website, more than half of the people who visit leave in fewer than 15 seconds.

If that’s not a red flag to you, it should be. As digital marketers push the boundaries of delivering a truly excellent customer experience, brand websites are re-emerging as one of their most important marketing channels. After all, it’s the number one place consumers go to learn more about your brand and product offerings — and the longer you can get them to stick around, the more loyal they (and their wallets) become.

But inviting people to your website is like inviting them to a party: If it’s boring, they’re going to leave. Most of us wouldn’t invite our friends over and give them nothing to eat, nothing to drink, nothing to do and no one to talk to. And the same should apply to your website. If you want your guests to want to stay, you have to roll out the red carpet.

Here are three of the most common party fails and their surprisingly easy fixes:

Monotonous Content

There’s no one media type that appeals to everyone. Some of your visitors might be into blog posts, while others prefer reading product reviews or scrolling through photos of your product in the wild. That’s why interactive and dynamic websites that show off things like the latest trends and customer sentiment are the most effective for driving product exploration.

In order to be successful, you have to switch it up. Experiment with various kinds of media — such as videos, photos, podcasts, slideshows, infographics, social content, blog posts — and from various authors, too. Try aggregating content from experts in your industry, displaying social content from happy customers, or asking visitors on your site to share their experiences through chats, photo uploads, comments or product reviews.

More than 90 percent of consumers trust earned media over all other kinds of media, so adding some third-party voices will diversify your content, while also earning you some serious credibility.

Bad Navigation

A while back, a company came to me because they couldn’t figure out why this awesome interactive website they’d built wasn’t generating as many conversions as they’d expected. So I took a look at the site and realized that even though it was a really cool experience, I had to click through four different pages — including one that asked for my email address — before I even saw a glimpse of the “buy” button.

Navigation may seem like a no-brainer, but that scenario is something I see all the time. It’s critically important to understand the objective behind a given page and make sure the navigation leads the user through the appropriate phase of customer journey.

If you want users to convert, the buy button had better be easy to find. If you want them to explore your products, make sure you’re leading them in that direction. And if you want them to leave a review or register, you need to ask them to!

Conduct some basic user testing (it doesn’t have to be official, you can always ask a couple of friends or even a colleague who doesn’t touch the website to walk you through their experience on the site) to find out if you’re doing these things effectively. And if you’re not, chances are you can fix the issues with a few dev tweaks or by adding some basic calls to action.

Not Staying In Touch

Registered users visit your site more frequently and spend more money than those who aren’t registered. Plus, those email addresses open up direct 1:1 communication channels with your best customers, so you can keep inviting them back for more.

The only catch, as I’m sure you know, is that most people aren’t quick to give away their personal information just because you ask them to. You need a good incentive on the other side of that registration wall.

Guess what often proves to be a good enough incentive? Great content!

For example, Sears’ Craftsman (disclosure: client) sells tools. So they created the Craftsman Club, a destination for makers of all kinds to upload and discuss DIY projects, inspiration and tips. Hundreds of thousands of people visit the site each month to browse user-submitted projects. The only catch? If you want to ask a question or post a project of your own, you have to register.

But Sears doesn’t use those email addresses to exclusively sell products. They’re constantly asking their club members for feedback, featuring popular project ideas, sharing exclusive offers and launching new contests. Their email content is completely dependent on feedback from their community, and it changes all the time to ensure they’re providing the most possible value for their members.

So if you want something extraordinary that will attract and keep customers. Go to www.ihenix.com today!

Mobile Friendly

The 2 words that impact your business the most.

Mobile Friendly

In 1997, there were approximately 1 million websites, and 10 years later, there were 150 million. In 2007, there were about 1 million mobile websites, and the number is supposed to reach 150 million by 2017. It is clear that mobile friendly websites are going to increase exponentially in the years to come. The internet started on the PC but with more than 3 billion mobile phones being used world wide, we are soon approaching a time when many people’s first internet experience will be through a mobile device. These rapid changes have left the business world with no choice other than to adapt to them. With mobile devices taking over the place of the PC, not having a mobile friendly website is like committing business suicide.

People want information and services, and they want them fast. With the advancement in technology, it is possible for you to access this information and the services through your cell phones. Those companies that have not yet adapted to mobile may miss this opportunity to attract customers. It has become very important for companies to be able to cater to their customers over mobile phones. A mobile is the most personal form of communication and is becoming a powerful one as well. If you can capture a customer on their mobile, then you have them on all other platforms as well.

Why You Should Have a Mobile Friendly Site

Rise of the smart phones: Smartphones have become affordable over the past few years. Almost everyone is looking to buy one. These devices are excellent for hand held browsing. Since the sale of smart phones is increasing, it only makes sense for companies to have a site that can be easily browsed through on these devices.

Popularity of mobile internet: According to studies, about 40% of the people who have a mobile phone use it for going online, and half of them will go online at least once every day. This presents a huge opportunity for a business.

Inexpensive option: Because mobile screens are a lot different from computer screens, the site design has to change accordingly. It is a relatively cheap process and not very time consuming either.

Use of GPS: GPS is a very useful technology. It is used by many mobile users to find out necessary things or directions. They also use it to find nearby services or businesses. If there is no mobile site available for your business then you are potentially losing a customer right in your own area.

Don’t get beaten by competition: People love to browse while traveling. However, when they find that sites that they normally used at their PCs are not mobile compatible, they might end up switching to a site which provides similar services and is mobile compatible as well.

SEO: Having a mobile friendly website also helps in SEO as it helps improve rankings on mobile friendly search engines such as Google or Yahoo.

Compatible with all platforms, unlike mobile apps: The alternative to mobile friendly site is producing apps that perform similar functions. Now this can be a very tedious task. Making an app is also quite expensive and apart from that, you would have to make different apps for different platforms. Once you make these apps, they have to fight hundreds of thousands of other apps to get into the spotlight.

2D Bar codes: One great bonus that comes along with mobile friendly websites is the 2D bar code. These appear like regular bar codes, but are capable of so much more. They can be used for discounts. A customer takes a picture of the code with their cell phone and instantly has access to not only the details, but also reviews of the product before they buy it.

Better user experience: Earlier, it might not have been possible to make a mobile site and give the user a good enough experience because of the low bandwidth and server speeds. However, in recent times, this has changed and you can be assured that using a good mobile site will be an enriching experience for a user.

Within a span of three years, the number of people accessing the internet via mobile will be more than those accessing it via a PC. This, more than anything else, should be a clear indication for you to start working on the mobile version of your site. Apart from that, the biggest draw on the internet today are social networking websites. Many people access these websites through there mobile devices. If they come across a link to your site, they would want to view it on their mobile screens.

Things to Keep in Mind

There are numerous reasons for you to have a mobile version of your site. Mobiles are the device of choice for many people today, and you would want to be accessible to them. However, while making mobile sites, you need to keep certain things in mind. People use mobiles for browsing because they want to save time. If a site takes too long to load, then there is no point of a mobile user visiting that site. You need to keep the page size small enough so it is loaded quickly on cellular networks.

Often the problem of text size also crops up. It is not a good idea to cram the most information you can in one page. Mobile screens are small and it becomes difficult to read a lot of text. Also clicking on links becomes a difficult task. Make sure that the content of your page can be viewed easily and the site can be navigated easily as well.

If you are not someone who is surfing the net from your mobile, then you will soon be in minority. In the near future, most people will be using a mobile phone for browsing. This means that any business that has a presence on the internet right now should make appropriate changes so that its website is mobile friendly.

If your site is not mobile friendly, go to www.ihenix.com for a free quote on custom mobile responsive websites. We offer big business solutions at small business prices.

Scam Alert

New Scam Alert

My last Scam Alert has received nearly 400 messages from people saying they have received the same scam. I hope I helped some people avoid being scammed out of their hard earned money.

So here is another scam that came in my Inbox that I would like to share with you.

Here is the original email I received in full:

I wanted to share a few major issues I discovered that are currently harming your website search rankings:

* There are several ‘bad’ links pointing to your website. You can confirm this by searching your website on the major search engines search boxes – Google, Yahoo & Bing. You can simply search by inputting your  link: www.ihenix.com

* Your website has multiple undesirable technical errors such as HTML errors, broken links, missing image alt tags etc. Confirm this by searching your domain or website URL on validator.w3.org,brokenlinkcheck.comfeedthebot.com/tools/alt/

* Duplicate content has been found which can be adversely affecting your website. You can confirm this at copyscape.com

* The number of high quality and/or authoritative links pointing to your site is extremely low. You can confirm this by visiting ahrefs.com

We can help you fix these issues and get your website ranking on the 1st page of Google!

Sincerely,

emma 

emma@seobulls.info

The first thing you need to know is that I received this at 1am. That is red flag #1. Usually when you receive emails at this time, it means they are coming from overseas. That doesn’t necessarily mean that all overseas emails are a scam but it is a red flag for me.

The other major red flag is that, apart from an email address at the bottom of the email, there is no company name, address or phone number.

I have to say though, I was a little intrigued. As “emma” appears to backup her statements, I decided to look in to them. I clicked on all the links and saw nothing that jumped out at me as a major problem. The duplicate content thing was the funniest. It shows that some of the content on my site was found on other sites. For example, “most well known”!! What??? My site is not the only site in the world to use this phrase?????

So then the investigation started.

First, I Googled seobulls. Nothing! hmmm for a company who claims to be able to fix my SEO they are not doing a great job of their own.

Second, I went to seobulls.info. It’s not a real site. There is no SEO company there at all.

DING DING DING – SCAM ALERT

So here is my reply to “emma”:

Hi emma

Interesting offer.

  1.  I wonder though why when I search seobulls on Google, nothing comes up.  How can I trust you with my SEO when you can’t even do your own.
  2.  seobulls.infois not even a live website!
  3.  The fact that I got this at nearly 1am my time, makes me think that you must be in India, which means I highly doubt your name is “emma”.
  4.  When you don’t even put your company logo, contact details or anything else makes your marketing look stupid.

So this is either a Scam or you are just really stupid and terrible at what you do.

Thanks for the laugh

I hope no one is offended by my comment about her name. There may well be people in India called Emma but I just wanted to provoke a reaction.

Anyway, as of yet I have received no response.

I get these SEO emails often. So here is my tip – IF YOU WANT TO HELP YOUR SEO, FIND A LOCAL REPUTABLE COMPANY TO HELP YOU.

I would imagine these people take your credit card info for a “down payment” and then disappear.

You have been warned.

iHenix

www.ihenix.com

 

 

siteapt

SiteApt will rank your website beyond SEO

SiteApt launches new ranking system beyond traditional SEO

SiteApt is a brand new website that ranks your website on the 3 key components of attracting traffic to your site:

  • Is your site mobile responsive
  • Is your site optimized for Search Engines
  • Is your site integrated with Social Networks

Watch the above video to find out more or go to www.siteapt.com

A website, however well designed, is useless unless you attract traffic to your site. You want a return on your investment and SiteApt gives you the tools to ensure your business is able to profit from your website.

SiteApt ranks your website on the 3 key components of attracting more traffic to your site for FREE!

SiteApt measures how well your website performs. It’s a holistic view of your online strategy. Your website should Educate, Engage, Encourage and Embrace website visitors into prospects, prospects into leads and leads into customers. The end result is a report defining your ability to generate business online. We do this by analyzing the 3 key components of attracting more traffic to your site.

If you want your business to grow, you have to continue to reach out to new or potential clients.  When it comes to digital marketing, the concept is the same. Maybe initially, your time and budget only allowed for a decent website, but not much outside marketing. As you grow, you need to move into more channels.

The best marketing is the kind that reaches your audience through multiple sources, solidifying your brand image and the relationships you intend to build with your customers.There are so many ways to reach your audience today, and although SEO will help you get there, the real success lies in reaching them on a whole different level. Tell your story. Engage your fans. Create content that satisfies their needs and entertains their minds.

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Technology can never replace a smile

This past week, my wife had major surgery on her spine. She suffers from Scoliosis which causes her spine to curve in the shape of an “S” rather than having a normal straight spine. To correct this, doctors performed a 6 hour spinal fusion surgery that involved inserting Titanium rods and 26 screws in her spine to straighten it out. The surgery was successful and they straightened her spine from a 75 degree curve to a 15 degree curve, which for all intents and purposes is straight.

She spent the next week in the hospital and as anyone who has ever had back surgery will tell you, the pain was excruciating. They plied her with some of the strongest pain medication available, yet she still suffered. I spent a lot of time in the hospital that week and was able to observe the nurses and staff at work. What struck me the most was how much technology plays a role in today’s hospitals. The nurses walk around with laptops on moving wagons that contains the records of every patient. Before they do anything, the first scan the patients wristband which contains a barcode. Then they scan whatever medication they are about to administer. They make notes about every aspect of the care given to the patient. When her doctor came in, he was able to immediately pull up her entire file and see everything that had been done.

The technology is very impressive because not only does it serve as a database, but it also acts as a safety net. First the doctor prescribes the drugs, then the pharmacy approves the doses and any possible conflicts and then the nurse administers the drugs. It ensures that all medications are taken at the right time, it checks to make sure that no drugs conflict with any other medication a patient is taking and it speeds up the entire process of care. To some extent, this technology has made the work of nursing much easier as they no longer have to write everything in paper files and figure out when each patient needs their medication. Imagine if a nurse is attending to 10 patients on a shift and each patient is taking 4 or 5 medication, it’s very hard to remember who takes what and when. Before, a nurse would have to ensure they kept exceptional records or mistakes could be made. Now, the technology does it all for them and they just administer the drugs the computer tells them to.

It’s all about checks and double checks, making sure every T is crossed and every I is dotted. There is no question that this technology has improved the quality of care at hospitals in an enormous way. However, I noticed that there is one thing that the technology could not do. It could not smile at the patient in pain, put a comforting arm on their shoulder or sympathize with them has they writhed in agony. The human touch that is an essential part of medical care can not be replaced by computers and must remain so.

Unfortunately, I witnessed some nurses who were not so nice, not so caring and didn’t have the bedside manner that my wife needed in her time of pain. Some were cold, uncaring and seemed burnt out with their jobs to point where it appeared that they saw the patients as a file on a computer instead of a human being. An example of this was one afternoon when my wife’s pain was so bad that she called the nurse asking for pain medication immediately. So the nurse came in, scanned her wristband and checked the computer. The she coldly told my wife that she was not due for any more medication for 10 more minutes and insisted that my wife suffer in agony until the computer told her that it was ok to administer the drugs.

Now I can understand that the nurses have a job to do and they want to be careful not to overdose a patient but this nurse was so focused on what the computer was telling her that she forgot there was a human being suffering next to her. She could have shown compassion, sympathy or understanding of my wife’s pain. She could have reassured her that the pain would get better. Instead she chose to stubbornly stick to the schedule on the computer and would not waiver.

At this point I would like to acknowledge that nurses work extremely hard over long shifts and I can imagine that it does take its toll and I would like to point out that there were some exceptional nurses and staff at the hospital and the overall care was exceptional. In fact, my wife wrote down the names of every nice nurse and staff member who was extra nice to her and she intends to write to the hospital and praise them to the hospital management.

As someone who work in technology, this taught me something very important about how to treat people and how important human interaction is and that we can not let technology get in the way of that, no matter how good the technology is.

For example, you may have a great cellphone provider. They may provide you with a quality product and at a low price but when you call customer service and the person on the phone is rude or not helpful then your perception of the entire company changes.

As a web designer, I may create great websites, but I must remind myself that behind every website there is a client who should be treated they way I would want to be treated by any company I am a client of.

While technology and social media have undoubtedly changed the world forever and changed how we communicate. We must never lose sight of the importance of personal interactions. So the next time you hear that a friend is sick, don’t post a get well message on their Facebook page. Send some flowers, go visit them or just pick up the phone.

Let’s use technology to enhance our lives but make sure that we remember to never lose sight of the importance and the impact you can have on another person by just being you.

disappearing

Websites are disappearing from Google!

Avoid disappearing from Google. Make your site mobile-friendly.

www.ihenix.com – Get a FREE quote.

Over the next few weeks, millions of sites worldwide could start disappearing or seeing a massive reduction in traffic from smartphone search results – an event nicknamed “Mobilegeddon.”

Why is this? One word: Google.

Two months ago, Google announced that it would soon be overhauling its search-ranking algorithms to give significant smartphone search preference to websites that are “mobile-friendly.” That means that sites whose content is more easily viewed and usable on mobile devices will have greater visibility in smartphone search results. (Tablet search results will not be affected.)

Google recently predicted that the number of search queries performed on mobile devices will soon outnumber those done on computers, and they want to ensure these users are seeing content they can easily digest. Now, content and link building are no longer the only cool kids on the SEO block, but usability as well.

If your site currently ranks on the first page of results for a search on Google, and your site does not pass Google’s “Mobile-Friendly Test”, then your site will disappear and be lost in the mass of millions of other search results on mobile devices. Considering that 92% of all clicks happen on the first page, that’s a huge loss in traffic.

The overhaul happened recently: April 21, 2015. If your business or blog relies on Google search traffic to attract users, and your site isn’t “mobile-friendly,” it will be affected by these changes.

Am I Affected?

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Mobile-friendly Tag in Search Results

The first thing to do is find your site on Google using a mobile device. Look for a “Mobile-friendly” tag below the title. If the tag is there, congratulations, your site passes the test and will not be gravely affected (start at Step 2 below to help improve your results further). If the tag doesn’t appear, then follow these three steps:

  1. Visit Google’s Mobile Friendly Test page and enter your site’s URL. This will tell you why your site doesn’t meet the requirements.
  2. Visit Google’s Page Speed Test, to see how you can speed up your site. This is an additional factor in determining ranking.
  3. Fix the above problems, either by yourself or with the help of a professional developer.

How do I fix these problems?

www.ihenix.com – Get a FREE quote.

You need to make your website “responsive,” specifically in the areas listed in the test results. Responsiveness is the term used in web design to describe the process of making a website “respond” to the device its being viewed on, and changing its content and styling to best suit varying screen sizes.

The steps you need to take to make your site responsive vary in complexity and difficulty depending on what’s wrong, and how your site is hosted. If your site was custom built by a developer, and there’s significant issues, this could cost you weeks, and thousands of dollars in developer time. Making a website responsive once it’s already built is not always easy.

What’s involved with making a site responsive?

The overall goal in making a site responsive is ensuring that it is usable on a variety of devices. This can mean modifying your site by: increasing text and button sizes, adding additional space between clickable items, having the page width match the screen width, changing the layout of elements, and speeding up the page (for those on slow 3G connections).

Screen sizes used to access web pages can vary from 3″ all the way to 30″ and above, and can be in landscape or portrait mode. Having a one-size-fits-all site is definitely not going to work across the board.

Quite often, when a site is not responsive and is loaded on a phone, the content is extremely tiny, and the user has to pinch-zoom and pan to find what they need. This is not an ideal user experience. The first step is to make the site width match the device width.

After doing this, elements that are normally adjacent to each other may become visually cramped. Consider stacking elements vertically on smaller screen sizes: if you have three article summaries side-by-side on desktop, try having only two adjacent articles on tablet, and down to one article per row on mobile, giving each one enough room to breathe.

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Example of a responsive site design (desktop, tablet, and mobile).

How do I fix these problems?

www.ihenix.com – Get a FREE quote.

The nature of a mobile device is that it’s portable — it’s always on the move, and it can be operated with one hand. Having larger text for mobile devices is important since glare and other environmental conditions can affect screen visibility.

Further, mobile users navigate using their fingers, which are much larger and less precise than a mouse cursor. Having multiple tappable items close together, such as links and buttons, could result in the user accidentally tapping on the wrong one. This can be a very frustrating user experience.

Many mobile phones are connected via 3G, which is slower and less consistent than most Wi-Fi connections. This means that you should do everything you can to make your site also load faster. Not only will users abandon your page if it’s too slow, but Google’s ranking algorithm actually penalizes slow sites. Speeding sites up generally involves reducing its overall size (the file size of images, fonts, etc.), and/or delivering the site via a fast web host. Some of the reductions in size can come from compressing images (by lowering their resolution or using a compressed file format such as JPEG).

While we’re on the subject of images, consider taking advantage of smaller screen sizes, and have your site serve smaller (in terms of visual area covered) image files for those devices. After all, whereas a laptop might need a 1600px-wide image to look good, an iPhone with a screen width of 320px can get away with a much smaller image since there are fewer pixels to cover.

There are a lot of changes that can be made. It may take days or weeks worth of tweaking to get it right. If using a platform such as WordPress, as one example, you may be able to switch your site’s template to a new, responsive one then spend your time making sure the content still looks good in its new format. But that can be very time consuming and most small business owners do not have the time to do this.

Is there a quicker way?

www.ihenix.com – Get a FREE quote.

This wouldn’t be the iHenix blog if we didn’t point out that responsive web design is a natural part of the iHenix site designing process. Our fully-responsive designs are all compatible with Google’s updated search-ranking algorithm.

Defeating Mobilegeddon

www.ihenix.com – Get a FREE quote.

Mobilegeddon demonstrates that Google is truly one of the most powerful companies in the world. A simple change in their search algorithms can affect hundreds of thousands of businesses and blogs overnight,

As outlined above, to adhere to the new requirements, it comes down to making your website responsive – prioritize the user experience above all else. Don’t treat responsiveness as an afterthought or a “nice have.” Treat it as a pivotal component of web design, as we do at iHenix.

Whatever way you proceed, act quickly as Google’s changes are live and you could already be losing mobile search traffic.

 www.ihenix.com – Get a FREE quote.
cnbc-logo

CNBC News Article about Mobilegeddon & iHenix

With Google’s latest big change in its search algorithm, “Mobilegeddon” is officially upon us. As of Tuesday, websites that don’t work well on smartphones will start getting punished by Google’s all-powerful search engine.

Robert Bowick, a 37-year-old web developer in the Detroit suburbs, is cashing in on the mania.

Back in February, as bloggers started throwing around the made-up word “mobilegeddon,” Bowick’s company, iHenix, shelled out 99 cents for the domain www.mobilegeddon.net. He decided to focus his one-person shop on helping small businesses that would largely be blindsided by the coming changes.

“There’s been this huge scramble by businesses to get their sites mobile friendly,” said Bowick, who started iHenix in June after a career creating websites. “What I realized is that small businesses would be impacted the most. These are websites designed five years ago that have been sitting there, they haven’t done much with them, they’re not mobile friendly, and they don’t have the resources to do it.”

Bowick populated his new site, with “Mobilegeddon” in bold letters, the date April 21, and simply asked, “Are you ready?” He embedded a one-minute video that plays out like an apocalyptic movie trailer and ends with a promotion for iHenix. The video has been viewed more than 15,000 times in the past two weeks, Bowick said.

Google, whose search engine controls two-thirds of the U.S. market and upwards of 90 percent in many European countries, notified webmasters of the approaching algorithm change in a blog post on Feb. 26, and directed interested parties to instructions on creating a mobile-friendly site. The experience should be fast, clean, simple, adaptive to screen size, and everything should work, including the checkout process for an e-commerce service. Responsive web design is the approach most developers are choosing. Bowick’s mobile-fixing service starts at $399, including a $200 discount until April 21, and takes about a day to set up for simple sites. He runs every site he develops through a Google tester to make sure it’s compliant with the new guidelines.

“They’re trying to understand if your content can be consumed easily on a small screen,” said Bob Egner, vice president of product management at EPiServer, a service that powers more than 30,000 websites.

Egner said the companies most at risk are those that haven’t taken the time to determine the amount of traffic they get on mobile phones and the value of that traffic. Websites focused on business-to-business commerce and less targeted at consumers are those most likely to be slower to adapt, he said.

“B-to-b companies have viewed mobile as being interesting but not something that was in their sphere of concern,” he said. “They’ve been more concerned with having rich, large content available on big screens.”

Bowick said he’s worked on 15 to 20 sites in the past two months. To get the word out, he’s spent a couple thousand dollars advertising on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. And, just by virtue of owning the “mobilegeddon” URL, he gets a healthy number of panicked business owners.

“As soon as I heard the name, I said that’s cool, let’s get it registered, get the domain,” Bowick said. “We wanted to get the word out to small businesses.”

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“Mobilegeddon” Is Coming on April 21 – Are You Ready?

Time for Mobilegeddon

Few things get a webmaster’s attention quite like waking up to a Twitter feed filled with news about a major algorithm update. Most algorithm updates come with vague or no warning, but Google recently announced, “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.”

Get a $200 discount on mobile responsive website design now at www.ihenix.com/mobile

Game on Google – Time to Prepare for Mobilegeddon

Google may have announced the update early, but it hasn’t exactly been forthcoming with details. Webmaster trends analyst Gary Illyes did share a few details in a recent Q&A.

Most notably:

  • Responsive design does not have a ranking benefit
  • Googlebot must be allowed to crawl CSS & JavaScript to pass the “mobile-friendly” test
  • Mobile friendliness is determined at the page level – not sitewide
  • Tablets will not be affected by this update
  • Google is currently working on a dedicated mobile index

Preparing for the Update

Google has been telling webmasters to prepare for mobile for years, now. Thanks to the announcement of the Mobile Search update, many webmasters now have a compelling reason to take action. If you find yourself scrambling to be mobile-friendly and can’t decide between a dedicated mobile or responsive design, it makes sense to weigh the pros and cons of each before making a decision:

Customization

Constructing a separate mobile site allows you to optimize it for mobile users. Mobile sites may have less content, a different navigation system, or other unique mobile-only options. All of the work in making the site mobile-friendly is done on the server and by the Web designer.

Despite having a separate mobile website, there remains a problem with presenting an optimal display on intermediate resolutions. The device screen widths on the market today have a lot of variations. Some of the standard resolutions are 320px wide, 480px wide, 600px wide, 768px wide, 800px wide, and 1024px wide. It’s generally not cost-effective to have a separate version for each resolution.

A responsive site takes a standard website and instructs the mobile device on how to display it properly. Responsive websites can handle any resolution with changes in CSS files, which affect how the elements on Web pages are presented. Computers, laptops, smartphones, and tablets will all display the website in the best way possible.

Design

“Mobile-only” designs are relatively simple to build and generally economical in development cost. Responsive websites are more complicated to build; having a higher upfront cost. One important consideration is the “lifetime” cost.

Over time, it can be much more cost-effective to build a responsive website and optimize it for all standard resolutions. This also means that future updates related to content are to be done at one place instead of multiple versions of the website(s) that cater to each screen width.

Search Engine Optimization

Most mobile sites are built on a subdomain, m.domain.com. If you choose to go that route, remember to utilize canonical tags pointing to the desktop URL for duplicate mobile pages. This resolves potential duplicate content issues. Don’t put canonical tags on unique mobile content. Both the mobile and the desktop pages can rank for competitive phrases. Responsive sites require no special SEO consideration beyond normal best practices.

Linking

From a practical perspective, link-building to one site is more productive and cost-effective than building links to two sites. Mobile link-building is different from traditional link-building and requires a different approach. A responsive design mitigates running a second campaign.

Overall Sales

Statistics gathered by a variety of companies show that mobile sites have much better conversion rates. This goes back to the fact these sites are designed only for mobile platforms. They tend to load faster and are easier to navigate. In short, they offer a better mobile user experience than responsive designs.

Preparing for Future Updates

Does your site meet the Mobile-Friendly test? Even if your site makes the grade today, there’s no guarantee that it will continue to stand up to future changes. Staying on top of mobile search trends needs to be a priority item. Mobile designs may not be fully compatible with future mobile browsers or devices. Responsive websites, on the other hand, will most likely be able to work with newer browsers and devices, so they’re more of a one-time investment.

So Which Is Better?

So which type of website is best for you? If you’re still uncertain, here are the highlights of both types of sites:

Pros of Mobile Sites:

  • Can be customized for mobile users
  • Should be the most mobile-friendly version of a site
  • Easier and cheaper to design

Cons of Mobile Sites:

  • Recurring maintenance
  • Higher costs for updating the content of multiple websites
  • May need to be reworked to meet future browsers

Pros of Responsive Web Design:

  • Highly flexible – one responsive website works on all devices, so only one site has to be created and maintained
  • This is Google’s recommended configuration
  • Can be a better return on investment since most responsive sites won’t need much future maintenance to comply with new browsers

Cons of Responsive Web Design:

  • More expensive upfront cost
  • Doesn’t convert as well

The Bottom Line

It truly depends on what your site is focused on and what you need it to do. Make your website user-friendly, helpful, and relevant and you will have the opportunity to rank in Google organic search, regardless of the website type.

mobile

Being mobile now affects your SEO

If you run a website then this news is very important for you and your business.

Google has confirmed that it is now going to take into account whether or not a website is mobile-friendly when indexing for its search engine. Basically this means that websites that are not mobile-friendly will not be ranked higher than those who are. This change comes into effect starting April 2015 so site owners have over a month to make the required changes to ensure Google doesn’t penalize their website for not being mobile-friendly.

In a post on its Webmaster Central blog Google has confirmed that starting April 21st it will be expanding its 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.”

The benefit for users here is that they’ll get relevant and high quality search results for websites that are optimized for viewing on mobile devices.

It can be a pain to navigate a website that’s not optimized for mobile on a smartphone or tablet so hopefully this change by Google will compel more developers to ensure that their websites are better suited to cater to users that are coming in through mobile devices.