Your site may no longer be at the top of Google’s search results thanks to Google’s latest algorithm update, which now favors responsive, mobile-ready sites in mobile web searches. This means anyone who is searching for a website on a mobile device could potentially get different results than when searching on a desktop computer. Websites will now be ranked higher in mobile search results if they’re responsive.
This means that non-responsive sites could fall to the bottom of the list. As a result, publishers everywhere are racing to make sure their websites can adapt to phones, tablets, and secondary screens of all shapes and sizes. The main concern is that no one wants to suffer the same fate eBay did when it lost 80 percent of its prime search rankings with Google’s Panda 4.0 update in July of last year.
This is so important because Americans now spend more time consuming content on their phones than on their TVs — and publishers don’t want to be left out. Not only do they have to make sure their sites are responsive, but they also have to ensure the ads appearing on their sites correctly render in responsive environments. If you’re unsure of what this means, check out Google’s support page.
The new Google algorithm means that publishers will need to rethink their approach to website layout. Because mobile devices have small screens, all content — ads included — need to take up less real estate.
Here are some keys to web-based marketing success in the aftermath of Google’s “Mobilegeddon.”
1. Focus on Mobile-Friendly Content
Just like you would have a specific plan for social media or email, you need to create a separate strategy for delivering content via tablets, smartphones, or desktops. How your content appears on mobile will be different from the way it’s displayed on desktop computers.
This also includes your mobile advertising strategy. Native advertising is a great tool because it fits organically into your content, making it even easier to optimize your current desktop site for mobile. To make this monetization process as easy as possible, focus on partnering with a native ad network that utilizes responsive ad units to maximize mobile revenue opportunities. You don’t want to take the time and money to make sure your site is responsive just to have your ads fall flat and not render correctly on mobile devices.
2. Forge an Ad Network Partnership
Look for an advertising network that can provide multiple mobile ad unit formats, especially ones that will look great on various devices. It’s important that the ad network you choose can help you test multiple ad units to figure out what works best on your site. Not all ad networks have mobile traffic, so find one that does.
3. Test Out New Methods, and Let Your Audience in on the Secret
The landscape is changing, but that doesn’t mean you should forego an advertising opportunity. Test every mobile native advertising format to see what works (and what doesn’t) for your site. For example, many publishers can generate far higher revenues with mobile in-stream and under-article native ad placements than with right-rail placements. Also, make sure to keep records on which formats work and which ones don’t. Use your historical data to quantify results.
Just remember to keep users updated on website changes. This can be as simple as a blog post describing the change and why it was made. If it’s simply a format change, that’s all you need to say. Don’t overthink the reasoning.
4. Think Smaller
When adding new mobile advertising opportunities to your site, there’s often an emphasis on visual advertising. For some publishers, load times could be an issue because there may be more files uploaded for pictures, audio, and video.
To help make things easier, use an ad network that will do all the file compression for you. The network will provide you with a CSS code that you can put on your website, and the ad unit will show up on your pages. This takes a bit of the weight off your team to deal with issues concerning the server and file sizes.
5. Flex Your Creative Muscles
It’s time to start looking at things differently. The Internet is in constant flux, so don’t be afraid to step out and try something new. The mobile phones of today have drastically evolved from the phones of just five years ago. If Google’s algorithm had been released then — when screen size was at a premium — it would’ve really caused waves.
With today’s screens, there’s more room to be creative, and there’s plenty of space for advertising. So try some responsive ad units. They can ensure your website is on-point and can adapt efficiently to different screen sizes — compressing and expanding based on screen size, type, and orientation.
Google’s new mobile-friendly algorithm signaled a Mobilegeddon for anyone who was unprepared to face the challenges of the new search parameters. So embrace the mobile revolution. The more quickly you adapt to the new reality, the better your chances for success.