At Absolute Marketing Solutions, one of the most critical activities that we take part in is providing thought leadership on topics within mobile and digital marketing. Google’s “mobile-friendly” update has sent shockwaves across the business world as companies began to focus on whether or not their websites are responsive for users on mobile devices. It took Google taking a stand on the importance of the mobile Internet for businesses to tie it to generating revenues. Sure, we see more people on mobile devices. Some of us may even be aware that more than half of all internet traffic comes from mobile devices. However, the reality is that businesses are staggeringly behind the curve. Just one-fifth of small businesses reported having a mobile-friendly website, according to the National Small Business Administration’s 2013 technology study.
Here in the Tampa Bay area, many companies were either not aware of Google’s mobile-friendly update or were aware of it and had done nothing to date. As a company that has worked in the mobile space for over 15 years, we felt it was important to not only notify as many companies as possible about Google’s shift but to advise them on the tools that can help them get on track with this emerging trend. Over the last few weeks, we engaged in the following activities:
Created an Awareness Campaign
We attended a number of tech-focused and general community events to discuss the changes in Google’s search algorithm. Most notably, we wore a custom button that read, “Are you ready for April 21st?”
Created a Media Campaign
Teaming up with the Tampa Bay Business Journal (TBBJ), we created an informational article that discussed Google’s algorithm update, the number of companies who were prepared for it versus those who weren’t, and how important having a mobile-friendly website was to certain business sectors. The TBBJ article had a corresponding twitter chat in which the topic of mobile-friendly websites was discussed further.
Free Website Testing
We also created an email and social media campaign offering our audience free website testing to let them know if their websites were mobile-friendly. We offered guidance on how to adjust their sites, if necessary.
Testing Company Websites from the Book of Lists
Over time, we discovered that the best way to build awareness of Google’s Mobile-Friendly update was to test websites ourselves. To do this, we examined each company from the TBBJ’s 2014 Book of Lists. Here’s what we discovered:
- Through vetting the list carefully, we determined there were 1,742 original company websites on this list.
- We split the list in to three parts, and assigned three researchers to test the websites using Google’s Mobile Friendly website testing tools.
- After testing, our research staff discovered 918 of the 1742 companies failed Google’s test, which means that 52.6 percent of Book of Lists companies do not have a mobile-friendly website.
It is clear that the majority of businesses in the Tampa Bay area are not prepared for the mobile-friendly update. These are just the business in the Book of Lists. There are thousands of companies that are not on the list who will likely rank lower than competitors on Google search.