The Future is Mobile Part 2

About this time last year, I had the honor of presenting at the PRSA Counselor’s Academy meeting in Key West Florida on the growing importance of mobile tactics in public relations strategies, which got nice coverage in PR News. At the time, the trend was really obvious, but today it is even more true than it was then.

This week, Google has started favoring mobile-friendly sites according to Fortune magazine, in a trend some are calling “Mobilegeddon.” It’s a nod to the reality that increasingly more searches are being done on smart phones, tablets and mobile devices. In theory, this change should significantly affect how all company websites are ranked. That means that sites that meet Google’s mobile-friendly standards should appear higher in the search results on your smartphone. In a couple of very unscientific tests I have conducted, this appears to be the case.

There’s a guesstimate that about half of all Fortune 500 companies have not adapted to mobile friendly/responsive design. Retailers were the earliest adopters, so the vast majority, estimated between 70-80% are already mobile-friendly, so in theory they should come out ahead in the new search algorithm. Part of that benefit to a retailer was already clear because of the geolocator capabilities of mobile sites, i.e., they can interact with Google maps to help you actually find the brick and mortar store.

Although the change isn’t supposed to affect tables and desktops—I think it depends on what you call a tablet, i.e, is a Kindle a mobile device or a tablet? I would still recommend you consider mobile first in terms of design. After that, I would rank social connectivity second—and then the traditional web design. With lots of easily adapted templates available, mobile design isn’t cost prohibitive.

Google is offering an online test to determine whether a site meets its mobile criteria. Generally, web pages need to have a layout and text built in mind for smartphone layout and touch screen functionality. Keep in mind Google owns YouTube, too, so your mobile video strategy should include YouTube for now, as opposed to Vimeo and Brightcove, if you are looking for ease of use on all devices. To learn more check out the current FORTUNE magazine or the article on Page 6 of the May edition of PRSA TACTICS.

Questions, comments? I hope to see you at the PRSA Health Academy meeting in Cleveland May 13-15 where I can answer some of these questions in person.