Google's mobile algorithm update is rolling out! Webmasters must have their sites up to par with accepted mobile optimization standards.
Since this announcement from Google came out in February 2015, professionals that use the internet have been trying to figure out exactly how much of a change we're likely to see here. Whilst the regular desktop users won't notice any difference in the way they see the world, this mobile update makes it easier for mobile users to access content on the internet and read it comfortably in miniature screens.
The Mobile Content Update: What's The Extent of Change?
The last time Google announced algorithm changes so openly was when the first anti-content-farm update (nicknamed "Panda") came out and changed the game for SEO in general. Based on the amount of time Google gave before their scheduled algorithm change, we can be fairly certain that we're going to see some pretty major changes as far as internet-based business is concerned. Google has realized that vast numbers of users have forgone the traditional method of access through browsers and are now looking at web-pages on miniature screens such as tablets and mobile phones. In order to help these users out, Google has instituted a checking system that will determine whether the page is mobile-friendly or not (there is no grey area here, it's either-or) and let the user know beforehand.
What The Google Update Means for Content
The crux of the matter for content production teams and content marketing professionals is that we need to rethink our content game when it comes to Google's mobile update. A few of us already have mobile-friendly sites (You can check if yours conforms here), but there are many of us that aren't mobile-friendly and don't create content for that audience. It's about time we changed that. With the burgeoning mobile internet market entering the big leagues with this update, we would be making a serious misstep to overlook these users. How can we go about creating content that meshes with this new update?
- Make it Short and Snappy: The key thing to keep in mind here is that mobile users will most likely be consuming much more bite-sized content than regular web users. Short, sweet and concise are what you're aiming for. Long content (such as a few thousand words of length) still has its place on a web page, but not one geared towards mobile users. Just like how regular web users are daunted with walls of text, mobile users will probably take one look at a massive post and run for the hills. Keeping it concise and to the point is important to maintain your reader's interest.
- Build your Home Page Differently: Home pages usually have a large amount of copy to go with them because they aim to draw the user in and make them click on to other linked pages. With the new mobile update, we're going to have to start considering our home page differently. Typically, we're going to have to revamp the homepage to make it more suitable for viewing on a small screen by getting the copy more concise than it currently is. For a mobile user, you should be considering your homepage as ad copy in a limited space. Your mobile-search compatibility will not affect your regular desktop rankings (according to Google).
- Consider the Look & Feel of your Email Campaigns: The sheer amount of users that check email on their phones has gone up tremendously since the early 2000's. I, personally, check email on a bi-hourly basis and many other professionals do it far more often than that. Google's integration of Gmail with the Android operating system makes it even easier for users to stay connected via their phones. To this end, when we design our email marketing campaigns, we should give a thought to those users that are accessing our emails through the phone and develop the look and feel for our marketing content around that.
- Hard-Hitting Headlines: Writing content for a web browser means you have a whole lot of screen real estate to work with. For a mobile platform, that screen real estate comes down to nearly nothing and you're going to have to be creative about how you fill that space. Your headlines have to attract and tease, but they only have a handful of characters in which to pique the readers' interest. Professionals that use Twitter will shine here since they are already used to getting their message across in one hundred and forty characters. This just gives them an extension of that particular skill, shortening headlines down to the very minimum so that they can be easily transferred to a mobile platform for viewing.
- Don't Sacrifice Quality for Space: Probably the largest challenge we will have as content creators is maintaining the value of our message despite having to deliver it to our audience in a reduced space. This is where the true marketing professionals will shine. Someone who truly understands the audience will be able to explain to them in the least amount of words possible the things that the audience needs to know. Concise explanation is exactly what we want for our post-mobile content, because it gives us value without sacrificing content for it. At the end of the day, content drives our business and for it to do so with success, it must be good content.
A Changing Paradigm of Digital Content
Now would be a good time to batten down the hatches and perform a mobile content audit to determine if your site will be able to survive the oncoming algorithm change. We won't know for certain exactly how significant a hit sites will take until the algorithm goes live, but it's better to be safe than sorry. One thing we know for sure is that the face of content marketing is changing yet again, undergoing an evolution that ensures that our field of expertise delivers the best it has to our audience at all points in time. The only other professions that have such massive, seismic shifts that change the layout of the whole field are geography and seismology. Are you ready to take your content into the mobile-based internet of the twenty-first century?