Good morning internet fans, it is Ryan Perry with Simple Biz Support. Today is Thursday March 12th, therefore it’s Internet Marketing Thursday. On the other side I have Virginie Dorn with Business Website Center down in Petaluma. Good morning, Virginie.
Virginie Dorn: Happy Thursday, Ryan. How you doing this morning?
RP: I am doing fabulous, thank you. I am looking outside and it’s quite sunny today, so I think we’re going to have some nice weather, might be able to get out and take a walk to break up this day a little bit.
VD: Oh, you’re so fortunate. I’ll be staring at my multiple screens all day, lots of work.
RP: Alrighty. Those are good problems to have though, good problems to have.
RP: Today we’re going to talk about a pretty big announcement from Google. Very rarely does Google say, “Do this.” Typically it’s, “Hey, we’ve launched a new algorithm and you might want to check it out and see what happens.” This one’s pretty big because they’re actually giving people warning, they’re saying, “Look, come April 21st, we are changing our algorithm to support mobile-friendly websites.” And basically they’re saying if your website is not mobile-friendly, then it could have a significant impact on your ranking. And we’ve talked in a couple of episodes in the past about having a responsive site, being mobile-friendly, what the advantages are from the end user, but now Google’s really upped the ante and it’s time for people to really step up. Or go, “Okay, I’m just… I’m not going to market my business on my website anymore, I guess.”
VD: You’re absolutely right. What’s scary about it is because as you said, they’re very verbal and vocal about it. Typically, they give us some tidbits of information and we have to link the pieces together and make sense of what they’re announcing. This time they’re just loud and clear, “April 21st, be ready or not. But if you are not mobile responsive for your website, you will lose ranking and you might even disappear from the first pages of ranking.” So, it is huge, we’ve seen it coming for a long time. And the truth of the matter, this April 21st, but you and I know that it takes them weeks to launch that kind of change in their algorithm, so who knows, it might already have been started, we just don’t know about it. It will take a few weeks to take affect throughout the entire internet. So important, yes.
RP: Yeah, very important. It’s going to be interesting how it shakes things up. We won’t get official results, people that actually track this at a high national, or international level, it’ll probably take them a couple of weeks to really get some good statistics on how it’s going to affect people. Typically what you and I are talking about though are local clients, regional clients, not national, international type of clients. At least their customer base isn’t necessarily national or international. And a lot of times SEO and work that you do on a local level is much different than the type of work that you’ll do on a national level, so I’m really interested to see how it will affect all of the clients that I take care of. And because I went through and I’ve already checked, all of my clients pass. Google actually has a tool that you can go in and as long as you’re connected to… You have your webmaster tool setup, it’ll actually login and you can see if your site is mobile-friendly or not according to their standards.
VD: Yes, actually I think we should write down the link after we post that video online, so people can go there directly and enter their website and check if it is responsive or not. And responsive, your website might be partially responsive, that’s not going to be good enough, it has to be fully responsive. So, not just smartphones, but tablets, and not just the blog section, but the entire site, otherwise you will be penalized. And you and I do work with a lot of the local clients, and typically they have done well based on their good content. But maybe it’s been a long since they have redesigned their website. So, they are not responsive, they’re still number one. But as soon as this algorithm changes, their great content is not going to matter as much as them not being responsive. And they might just lose ranking right away, not understanding what just happened.
RP: Right. And what the crazy part about all this is that what Google is saying is that this is a light switch. And as soon as we turn this switch on, things will change. Let me go into screen-share real quickly and I want to show everybody what the page looks like. And hopefully you see it, it should say, “Webmaster Tools,” at the top here.
RP: Okay, perfect. I’m actually logged into my webmaster tools, so it’s google.com/webmasters. If you are not connected, or have not created a Google Webmaster account and connected your website, you will not be able to check, so that’s the first thing. If you’re not sure, just ask your webmaster, or you can give myself or Virginie a call and we’re more than happy to help you out to see if you are setup. But there’s a full link here, it’s google.com/webmaster/tools/mobile-usability. And because I’ll have a number of accounts, I can actually click on one of these accounts and it’s going to tell you if there are any problems. Now what scared me was I had a little red exclamation mark pop up, which typically is a bad thing. But it says, “No mobile usability errors detected, be sure to check all site variants.” And I’m not sure what it means to check all site variants, but I got a green bill of health.
RP: And I can go… And I’ll show you. I’m working on my site which I have at… Oops, let me go back. I actually received an e-mail from Google saying, “Your website is not mobile-friendly.” And I know that because I’m in the process of getting it rebuilt. And well, this is not a good sign.
RP: I do not trust Google’s webmaster tool because I know that my website is not mobile-friendly. So with that note, let’s turn off the screen share because that really didn’t help any.
VD: No. There are actually two places to check. Can I share the one I’m using?
RP: Yeah, go ahead.
VD: So, let me see. Are you currently seeing it?
RP: I have a black screen right now.
VD: Okay. So let’s try again. For some reason it always takes me three times.
RP: Back to you. There we go.
VD: Okay. So, this one is similar to the URL you were given. It just says google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly. And this is where you will put your website’s… Let’s see. Let me just type it. Okay, analyze. It just gets rid of all the other stuff. So, that little page they put together a few weeks ago when they made their announcements. If it works well it will give you a green thumbs up, it’s mobile responsive or not. It has to go through the cross.
RP: Yeah. I see. You’re actually in the developer side of things.
VD: Correct. But I think if you have a Gmail account and go directly to that URL, you are able to go directly to again google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly, so you don’t have to go to a webmasters. It actually gives you a little snapshot of what the website looks like and then they ask some… This page as mobile-friendly.
RP: Well, do me a favor. Since the Google Webmaster tool I don’t trust, why don’t you throw my website in there, simple biz support, and let’s check the developer tool?
VD: So again, very user-friendly because all you have to do is put your website address. And again, the only requirement is you need to have a Gmail account and you login into some type of Google account. Go directly to that URL and you will be able to see that page. So, it gives you the current site, because you are re-doing it anyway right now, but the current site, text too small, links too close, mobile viewport not set. So, mobile viewport is actually a piece of coding we put into the site to indicate to the search engine its been various mobile response of net coding into the webpages. Most websites still don’t have that.
RP: All right. It’s also interesting its got Googlebots. It’s showing that I’ve got a couple of pages that I blocked with Googlebots, but it’s interesting it shows that in this report.
VD: Yes. So I love that page. Thank you, Google, for a chance, making this available to everybody and not just webmasters.
RP: Right. Can you do me a favor and take that link and throw it in the chat bar?
VD: All right. That is not a problem. There it is.
RP: All right, perfect. That way as a business owner, if you’re not sure if your website is mobile-friendly or not, I would highly recommend using the second link which is the developer tool, versus the first link because I didn’t trust that one.
VD: Yes, so yeah. Again, this is a big change, that’s why we’re doing a whole session on it this week. We’ve talked about it for the last three years so it’s… For us, you and I, it’s nothing new. From our clients, they are aware of it as well, but for people that thought, “Oh, who cares about mobile devices?” Because my clients, my type of clients don’t choose a tablet. They don’t choose… Not for this, not that type of target audience. Well wrong, because first of all that’s not true. But, I think it’s you were the one industry that nobody watches your website on a mobile device, it’s still going to affect you on the ranking. So then you like it or not, you have to make your website responsive. That’s the end of it. Google is king and they rule the internet and we have to oblige.
RP: Yeah, and I think in this case they’re making the right decision. I mean, the reality is I don’t know what the exact numbers are, but it’s overwhelming. Mobile devices are taking over. And if people are still fighting it, I think one of the really clear indications to me that mobile was taking over was that on a desktop, I bring up a new website and there’s no menu bar at the top. And I’m like, “Where’s… How do I navigate?” And then I noticed the little three lines and the button, and that’s something that came out of mobile. So, the fact that they’re taking mobile design cues and bringing that to the desktop, is a clear indication that mobile is definitely the future. That doesn’t mean desktop’s going away. It just means that you need to follow the masses.
RP: It’s that 80-20 rule. And if most of the search and most of the work or the viewing of your website is going to be on mobile devices, then you really need to think about, “Okay, how does my website look on mobile? How does it interface on mobile? How clean is it?” I mean, we’ve talked in the past about website design and how you can actually make a change from a desktop design as far as the sequence that everything goes in. Because on a desktop, your interface is completely different. And then on a mobile device, ’cause it’s a lot of scrolling, it’s a smaller screen, people are using their fingers to navigate, you actually will customize that website, different look, not look and feel, but it’s going to act differently on a mobile device because the interface is completely different and it really needs to be different.
VD: Yes. Yes and yes.
RP: All right. Good answer. On that bombshell of an answer, is there anything else we should know about Google, the algorithm change? I mean, I think it’s pretty straight forward on this one. Check the link, make sure it’s the second one. I’ll post it down in the bottom on YouTube and also on the Facebook link and all those types of things. But you just double check if your website isn’t friendly. Virginie, what’s a good way of people getting a hold of you?
VD: Well, you can visit our site at petalumawebsite.com, Petaluma is P-E-T-A-L-U-M-A, like the town of Petaluma, website.com. Just go to our contact forum, we can schedule a Skype meeting or a face-to-face conversation, and then see how we can help you to make your website responsive.
RP: Okay. And if people would like to call you, what’s the best number to reach you at?
VD: Well, thank you. The number in California is 707-794-9999.
RP: All right. Perfect. And speaking of Petaluma, have you seen the McDonald’s commercial highlighting Petaluma?
VD: Yeah. Actually I was driving by, and I’m like, “Why are we doing a commercial there?” I didn’t realize at the time it was for actually McDonald. But yeah, our little town is going to be displayed on national TV.
VD: Very exciting.
RP: Yeah. I think it’s very cool. It’s… I know West County, some of those people aren’t terribly excited about the association with McDonalds. However, it’s great visibility. And what it’ll do for tourism, I think, is great ’cause Petaluma’s a beautiful city.
VD: Oh, yes.
RP: All right, Virginie. With that, we will be talking next week, same place, same time. Until then, I hope you have a fabulous day and take care.
VD: You too, take care, bye-bye.
RP: All right. Bye.