On April 21, Google will make a BIG change to its algorithm. The Google mobile algorithm update will be influencing the display of organic search results on mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones This will not only be affecting insurance agency websites but all websites that have not been optimized to run on mobile devices. This means that these websites will be even harder to find after this update. This is going to be a big move and, in my opinion, the right move, for Google.
Although it is going to improve the end user experience, some websites may disappear from the small screens all together. The million dollar question is, “Is your Agency ready?”
As written in the 26th of February 2015 update in Google’s Webmaster Tool Blog, “This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in search results.” On recent bulletin boards and comment areas, speculation turned to who would be the winners and who would be the losers when Google’s algorithm change is implemented.
Google wants a faster, smoother experience for mobile searchers and consumers. They will do their part by putting powerful analytic tools in the hands of the public and the community of marketers. YES, the burden of doing the work to be updated will be upon you, the owner of the agency, to seek out someone who can update your agency’s website to make it mobile friendly.
If you chose to do nothing you may be risking future business. Those who are interested in the services you offer will not be able to find your website easily. It also sends the message that you don’t care enough to be on the cutting edge If you are proactive, this update will not cost you or your agency an excessive amount of time or money. In most cases we are talking about a negligible amount of cost and effort and in some cases nothing at all.
Just about every webmaster has seen rising mobile traffic over the past 5 years. In many cases, websites are accessed 35% or more by mobile devices over traditional web browsers. In the case of our agency’s website, mobile device access is between 65% and 68%. It is time to regard these mobile device warriors as a primary source of new opportunities and no longer as a secondary segment. We need to develop an amazing experience that they won’t reject or feel uncomfortable with. And although the April deadline is just weeks away, there is still ample amount of time to correct critical site errors that will be interfering with the mobile experience.
To ease any doubts about this, please take a quick moment and follow through a few steps to see if your website is ready for Google new move.
First and foremost please take three minutes to see if your agencies site is mobile friendly by clicking on this link and it will tell you if you pass or fail.
Some major issues you may find are:
1) You may have faulty redirects (causes you to lose opportunities)
2) Slow Mobile Pages (makes for a bad experience)
3) Irrelevant cross links (which is an issue for your consumer)
4) Unplayable content (frustrating for a consumer)
5) 404 Errors (inefficient searches)
These are just five of the issues that you and your agency may be experiencing, but there are even more. If you want to gather more information about this, please go to Google and reference their mobile search engine optimization (SEO) guide. Within the guide is some great information made available to you at no cost.
If after you click on the Google link you find that your search failed, please waste no time and contact your website designer or responsible IT person to put together a quick plan of attack to get this resolved. If you have passed this test, great! Now you are ready to move on to the next step.
The second step will be to look into Google’s Pagespeed insights. Why should you do this? By passing step 1, it’s now time to create a great user experience to achieve a positive ROI. Let’s look at how to do this and what you need to do.
- Make sure, if you’re using any flash at all, that it is not interfering with your mobile friendly site.
- Look at your scripts (render-blocking scripts). In many cases they may have to be repositioned. This is a very common problem but can be solved quite quickly. This is so common that Google recently reworked it so that it would be easier and quicker for website owners to fix it on their own.
- Look at your images and make sure they work properly and are compressed properly. In other words, they should look proportionate to the layout.
- Access the speed of your mobile site.
These are several things you should have outlined for you by your website designer and SEO specialist. If you want to do this yourself, please refer back to Google’s Developer Pagespeed Insights.
With all this being said the last piece of advice I would give to you is to obtain an Insurance Agency mobile app. This is incredibly important because Google will be crawling into mobile apps next and you should be prepared for this.
My agency uses a mobile marketing app called www.goinsuranceagent.com. We’ve had great success with it and I would strongly urge you to start your search for the right app that fits your agency’s needs. If you have any questions about the April 21st algorithm change please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and if I can’t answer your question I will hand you over to my SEO consultant, Eddy DeMelo, and I can assure you he can.
Best wishes with you and your agencies marketing.