I got no short of 50 emails in the last two weeks asking me the same question:
Fear mongering much?
Some of you may be wondering ‘Why now?’ Well, Google changed it’s algorithm April 21. Some called it ‘Mobilegeddon’ which is something that would make many people 1) pay attention and 2) freak out.
The link above is to an entire archive of Google’s changes. Yes, Google changes. several times in one year (at least 6 times a year according to that link). But a few things to keep in mind when dealing with this (or other) changes from The Google:
1) Dealing with a neg artist is not really fun.
If you get an email out of the blue from someone you barely know (or even better, someone you don’t) negging your website, this means you are dealing with a certified d-bag.
Negging is a term I am borrowing from the pickup artist world. It means when you subtly (or not so subtly) insult someone as a way to get their attention and bring down their confidence a bit. This guy will tell you all about it. (Note comments disabled on the video, wonder why.)
Don’t let the web guru equivalent of this dude insult your website. It’s not their place to give you feedback. When you are ready for feedback, a website person you trust will happily (and nicely) give you constructive advice when asked.
Negging in the dating world works on insecure people. Someone negging your website will only work if you are insecure about your website, which brings me to…
2) Coming to decisions from fear and lack of information ensures they won’t be good ones.
Take some time to understand about this Google change if you are concerned about it. Moz and other trusted search engine specializing websites and blogs will have information when Google does a shift: http://moz.com/blog/day-after-mobilegeddon (Nicole summary: Um, the world didn’t end. At all. There was a bit of an uptick though in traffic for mobile-friendly sites.)
My point is don’t listen to some random person emailing you to scare you. Do research and understand the change as much as you can, so you can make the best decision for you and evaluate the advice you are geting.
3) Your customers AND Google want you to have a mobile friendly site.
If you look at your website data, you can see mobile versus non-mobile user behavior. Not just percentage of people who come to your website but how long do mobile visitors stay? What information do they look at? What device are they on? etc.
So Google is now giving some juice to sites that are mobile friendly. OK but guess what? Your customers also want you to have a mobile friendly website so if you are going to make the change, do it for them too.
4) You aren’t just relying on Google to get people to your website.
The people I meet who truly panic about changes like Google made a couple weeks ago are those who only rely on Google traffic for their customers. When you go from the #1 ranked, say, coffee mug dealer to #3 in Google and you ONLY get customers from Google search, of course you’ll panic as a Google change, however small, means less dollars in your pocket.
But most of you have multiple ways you reach your customers online. You do social media. You have an email list. You do paid ad listings occasionally. You have a blog on your website. You crosspromote stuff with your online friends.
In other words, the faucet is not ever being completely shut off for you because you smartly are NOT putting all your eggs in one basket.
5) Do your thing, don’t care if they like it. -Tina Fey
I know a lot of people make a game of ‘tricking’ Google. Oh hyperlinked keywords are now being more heavily weighted? Let’s go through all 1,100+ blog posts we have and change all the link text we have.
In general, just follow the rules Google has always says it wants you to follow and you’ll be fine. If one year, Google decides to prefer search engine friendly links higher to, say, h1 tags, you don’t have to worry because you’re doing both!
Common sense stuff to do (for Google and the people who visit your website):
1) Have words people are searching for on your website.
2) Use tools like bolding and larger fonts for more important concepts.
3) Have search engine friendly URLs (ex: breakingeveninc.com/about versus breakingeveninc.com/p=1967)
4) Name photos and use alt text/captions to describe what is in the photos.
5) Make sure your website loads fast. Here are some tools if you need to check.
Things spam websites do (to make sure you aren’t doing them):
1) Use content that has appeared elsewhere before. (A lot of spammers copy content from other websites and put it on theirs.)
2) Pretending your website is about X topic when it is really about Y topic. (Anything deceptive really.)
3) Ads all over the place.
4) Use so many keywords and phrases that it sounds like your robot wrote your website.