How Marketers Can Adjust To Google's Mobile Algorithm

As we all know, Google changes its algorithm all the time, sometimes more than once a day. When it made the recent mobile ranking algorithm announcement, expected to prioritize mobile-friendly Web sites in search, it was a big deal.

Whether you’ll be affected significantly or just a little over the next few weeks by the algorithm change, it highlights the increasing importance of mobile in digital marketing campaigns.

But do these sweeping changes impact marketers like they used to? Using the Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool, a recent study found that the latest Google algorithm change negatively affected numerous companies.

However, it is important to remember mobile search is not the only way that customers find your brand. There’s also content and social, which are increasingly driving traffic. The key to finding the right mix is having the right data.

In speaking with digital marketers, it’s clear that there is a misconception about what mobile-readiness really means.

A lot of people think that to have a mobile-friendly site means to have a responsive design. While a responsive design is part of being mobile-friendly, true mobile readiness means that your site is designed to achieve your business goals and meet customer demands — whether it’s to compare prices, make a purchase, or easily access information.

Since Google rolled out this new algorithm, digital marketers will be paying even closer attention to their mobile traction over the next weeks and months. As they measure their performance and analyze results, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Understand Discoverability Through Data

The first step to understanding mobile discoverability, and for that matter discoverability across all channels, is having the right data. Marketers examining discoverability in terms of mobile will need to dig deeper into their data and perhaps shift their perspective. Two key areas include conversion rates and bounce rates.


When analyzing results, it’s all about the conversion rate. With mobile taking an even higher place in the channel hierarchy, use baseline data to compare it with more recent shifts in mobile conversions. Watching the before-and-after impact of the Google algorithm change will give you insight into just how much to invest in mobile.

Analyzing bounce rates on mobile is a bit different than desktop performance. According to an analysis of over 10,000 brands, the bounce rate on mobile is 10% higher than desktop. At first you may think having a higher bounce rate on mobile is a bad thing, but it actually may indicate that the content was spot on with the customer’s needs. They got what they needed and quickly left. The next step is to analyze the bounce rate against campaign performance to make sure that is the case. 

Armed with the right data, digital marketers will be able to uncover how customers really find their brand to determine the right strategy and program execution for their campaigns.

Invest in a Mobile Content Marketing Strategy

A good content strategy is essential. Ultimately, this is the key to what Google is looking for with this algorithm change: content that is high quality and delivered in a format that can be well received on each specific device.

To determine which channels will be most effective, based on customer needs, demographics, etc. requires the right data. It also can help to identify which channels may be currently underperforming.

Narrow Your Content

After reviewing your areas of focus, identify the appropriate audience in each channel and with each device. The messaging of your content may be different if you are trying to reach social traffic from mobile versus direct traffic on desktop. Use targeted keyword research and knowledge of your market to build your content distribution strategy.

The sky isn’t falling. Though Google’s latest algorithm change does bring greater awareness to the need for having a mobile-friendly Web site. Mobile is important but it’s key to remember each brands’ discoverability based on this algorithm change will be different. Again, it’s always about where the customer is most likely to find you and take action.


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