Will Google’s Latest Search Algorithm Updates be a “Mobilegeddon” for Your Dealership Website?

Part 1

Author: Adam Dennis, VP of Product Development, Dominion Dealer Solutions

It’s no secret that mobile-friendly websites win the mobile-friendly customers.

Back in 2011, KISSMetrics reported that mobile customers were 88% more likely to do business with auto dealers if those dealers had mobile-optimized websites.

And according to a more recent study, the majority of car shoppers perform mobile-based “showrooming” while physically shopping at a dealership. Over 50% visited an additional dealership because of that mobile research.

So it’s not news that customers prefer mobile-friendly sites. It’s not even news that mobile-optimization can have an impact on the sales cycle. But, Google has decided to jump into the equation and tip the scales even further…

Mobile-friendly sites will now outrank sites that aren’t optimized for mobile.

Google’s New Mobile World

Some blogs are calling the algorithm’s latest update “Mobilegeddon” or “Mopocolypse.”

According to Google’s Zineb Ait Bahajji, this update is bigger than Panda or Penguin. But unlike other algorithm updates, this one came with a warning and a due date.

Google said that it wanted businesses to have time to prepare. Sounds fair enough.

Here’s a quick list of the update’s changes:

  • In mobile searches, mobile-friendly sites are being promoted over sites that aren’t mobile-optimized. Desktop searches and tablets won’t be affected.
  • Also, mobile-optimized sites will be labelled as “mobile friendly” within the results. For a while now, Google has been experimenting with text and icons to display a site’s mobile-friendliness…or lack thereof.
  • These changes take place in “real-time.” As soon as google notices a change on a site, it will impact rankings.
  • Google evaluates websites on a page-by-page basis. So if some pages of a site are mobile-optimized and some aren’t, Google will rank them all separately.

The obvious concern for every website owner is knowing what changes to make. If a site is not optimized for mobile devices, then its mobile search rankings probably aren’t sitting well with the update.

There are two main criteria that dealers should pay attention to with respect to their websites.

  1. The site should have a responsive or adaptive design.

Google has been specific about what criteria a mobile site should meet. To meet the new mobile search standards, they should:

  • Avoid Flash
  • Use text sizes that are readable on mobile devices
  • Ensure that content will be optimized for multiple screen sizes
  • Do not put links too close together

There are a few other caveats and errors to avoid, but these are the most essential.

  1. The site should load quickly and perform well on mobile.

Slow-loading images, lots of assets, and too much code can increase pages’ load time.

Responsive design won’t do much good if a site takes too long to load.

Stay turned for Part 2 of Adam’s article tomorrow for the Next Steps to Mobilizing your Website.

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