An Auckland-based marketing consultant says one in four of the 50 most well known retail brands in New Zealand failed Google’s mobile friendliness test. The findings come as the day dubbed ‘Mobilegeddon’ fast approaches on April 21, when the search engine giant will start to penalise sites that aren’t mobile friendly.
Half of New Zealand’s top listed companies also failed the test.
Google announced a change to its search algorithms on its Webmaster Central Blog in February.
“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal,” the announcement said.
“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.”
The company warned that you will see a hit to your rankings on mobile searches if your site isn’t fully optimised for mobile devices.
Impact PR marketing consultant Fleur Revell says Google recognises accessing websites on mobile is a completely different experience to accessing them on a PC.
“Dynamic businesses that can adapt rapidly to Google’s 500 algorithm changes each year will reap the rewards, while others will be relegated to virtual obscurity as their rankings slip off the coveted first page of Google,” she says.
She says companies that don’t have mobile-adaptable sites will lose out to their competitors who are prepared for the change.
“Despite the light hearted terminology used by tech commentators globally, this algorithm update is expected to hit search engine rankings hard and has the potential to impact the bottom line for thousands of local businesses,” she says.
This includes local bricks and mortar stores, who may bear the brunt of the change.
“Retail is a particularly competitive industry and in the case of a shopping mall or district, mobile search driven foot traffic has become a key driver of sales,” she says.
Companies with sites that are mobile friendly can expect a boost in site traffic, mobile search engine rankings, and potentially sales, says Revell.
She says statistics show having a mobile-optimised website is incredibly important, as over two thirds of Kiwi’s own a smartphone and around 50 percent of search engine queries come from mobile phones.
Google has provided a tool to analyse your website to determine how well it works on a mobile device.
You can test if your site is up to Google’s standards by using this tool.
You can also see what any website looks like on a mobile browser here.
We’ve included some examples of Kiwi retailers with mobile-optimised websites below (Farmers, Paper Plus and Ezibuy) and in the head image (The Warehouse).