Thousands of Kiwi businesses are not ready to meet Google’s upcoming ‘Mobilegeddon’ deadline according to a local marketing expert.
‘Mobilegeddon’ or ‘Mobilepocaplyse’ is the name given to the April 21 deadline issued by the world’s largest search engine which will penalise those sites which are not ‘mobile friendly’.
Auckland-based marketing consultant Fleur Revell from Impact PR, says while half of New Zealand’s 50 top listed companies failed Google's mobile friendliness test the biggest risk is for those businesses which rely heavily on marketing direct to consumers.
Revell says one in every four of the 50 best known Kiwi retail brands also failed to meet Google's new requirements.
The URL test provided by Google analyses websites to determine their functionality on mobile devices.
"We applied the test to 50 of New Zealand’s largest blue chip companies and another 50 of the largest retailers and found many of them had not yet adapted their sites to fit Google’s requirements," she says.
Revell says Google recognises there is a difference in the way we search on mobile devices - for instance, the screen is smaller than PC’s and our fingers are unable to click links which are too close together.
“Dynamic businesses that can adapt rapidly to Google’s 500 algorithm changes each year will reap the rewards, while others will be relegated to virtual obscurity as their rankings slip off the coveted first page of Google," she says.
Revell says its estimated that the first five search engine results account for over two thirds of clicks through to businesses.
But unfortunately most Kiwi SME’s are unable to dedicate the resources required to staying one step ahead.
Revell says those companies which are mobile friendly are set to benefit from their competitors lack of preparedness.
"Despite the light hearted terminology used by tech commentators globally, this algorithm update is expected to hit search engine rankings hard and has the potential to impact the bottom line for thousands of local businesses," she adds.
Revell says it is will hit businesses which rely on mobile search traffic hardest and has particular concerns for local bricks and mortar stores.
“Retail is a particularly competitive industry and in the case of a shopping mall or district, mobile search driven foot traffic has become a key driver of sales," she adds.
Those sites which are mobile friendly can expect a significant boost in mobile search engine rankings, site traffic and potentially sales, says Revell.
“With over two thirds of adult New Zealanders owning a smartphone and around 50% of search engine queries originating from mobile phones, its not surprising Google has altered its algorithm to make mobile searches more user friendly," she says.
Revell says New Zealand businesses are not alone in being under prepared for the coming deadline with many high profile international brands also reportedly failing the test.