Google updates: Mobile-first and taking your finger out of the dike

July 26, 2017

SEO

by Rob Starr

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For any savvy marketer there are two axioms you can’t escape – dealing with some kind of online marketing is inevitable even if you’re only looking at an integrated campaign, and finding success there means understanding the latest Google update landscape. Don’t let the cute names deceive you. They may have been called Panda and Hummingbird, but the latest algorithm shifts incorporated by this titan of search engines would be better termed a croc in the weeds for marketers who don’t know their way around what can be an online swamp to the uninitiated.

That said, here’s a guide to the trickiest of these latest Internet backwaters that can swallow up any marketing boat not using the right compass.

Google My Business messaging

It’s important for Google to stay relevant and that means constantly updating the features they offer marketers and small business. They need to be constantly improving and trying new things – and savvy marketers need to be aware of the latest of these, like the Google My Business messaging feature.

Tweaked messaging

Relevance is key and always has been and that means, at least partially, it’s important to stay engaged. This messaging option is another great way to do just that; it’s just been rolled out to all U.S. businesses after testing and tweaking the feature for a year.

One cautionary note here. The messaging choice is optional and pundits say you don’t want to pull your finger out of the dike unless you’re ready to commit. Slow response times can ruin the opportunity this Google My Business feature presents.

What’s old is new again?

You should never lose sight of the fact that Google’s ranking algorithm is made up of 200 different components. That means, to a large extent, what’s old is new again when it comes to updates and which of these arrows you need to prioritize in your marketing quiver. Still, it’s good to keep in mind that focusing on both quality and content will help you to stay ahead of any seismic shifts in algorithm changes.

However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that the shift has been completed from mobile to mobile first. Smartphone advertising is at the head of the class as evidenced by the fact any brand that isn’t mobile optimized is doomed to seeing almost 70% less traffic.

Don’t overlook the fact that not having speed kills your chances of converting visitors to sales at least. Research from the Big Kahuna (Google) underlines this point by reporting that 53% of visitors leave sites that take longer than three seconds to load.

Mobile first buzz

Be aware the buzz around what was to be the very first Mobile First algorithm is still taking shape and hasn’t become a Google update just yet. While we’re waiting, there’s been a few more keyword tweaks marketers need to be aware of. On same meaning queries, exact match keywords will show ads. This makes it easier to set up ads, but won’t make a big difference when it comes to traffic.

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SEO