If your website traffic has plummeted since April 21, you’re not alone. As a direct result of Mobilegeddon—the name the media gave Google’s recent algorithm change that rewards mobile-friendly websites—more than 40% of top sites could see a drop in their search ranking, according to TechCrunch. For many dealers, the loss of even a few spots, especially those “above the fold” on the first page of search results, can result in missed opportunities and lost revenue.
Despite all the recent discussion about the repercussions of Mobilegeddon, many automotive dealers are still unclear on exactly what steps they should take to keep their websites ranked high in mobile search. To develop a strong digital strategy in a post-Mobilegeddon world, it’s important to gain a deeper understanding of what makes a website truly optimized for mobile.
Mobile-First Website Design
Traditionally, websites have been adapted for mobile by starting with a full-size desktop version, then stripping away key features in order to fit on smaller screens. As a result, the integrity of the website is compromised when viewed on a tablet, and its functionality is limited even further when viewed on a mobile phone. These so-called adaptive websites can deter users by making content less enjoyable to consume—which can greatly harm a website’s ranking in search.
It’s more important than ever for dealers to leverage a responsive website design to deliver a higher quality experience for mobile users. This means building the mobile version of a website first, then adding features for larger screens—not the other way around. By enabling users to find the information they need any time and on any size screen, dealers can deliver a fully immersive mobile experience. A website design that makes content accessible is a key step in any mobile-first marketing strategy.
The Impact of Quality Content
Although responsive website design is a critical component of an effective mobile-first marketing strategy, that alone won’t ensure that you’re successfully reaching mobile users. Now and in the future, good search engine optimization (SEO) will mean high-quality, relevant content that delivers an engaging experience without sacrificing usability. Car shoppers seek out marketing content at every stage of their journey, from initial research to final purchase decision. Dealers can better reach customers—and bolster their search rankings—by developing compelling content that addresses these needs.
There’s a popular belief in digital marketing that shorter content produces better engagement, but the truth is that even on a mobile phone, users will read any piece of content to completion if it’s interesting enough. In fact, longer, more in-depth content can play an important role in a mobile-first digital marketing strategy. When users engage with a piece of content for a longer period of time, they signal to search engines that the content is high-quality—which, in turn, boosts a website’s ranking.
Content as an Investment
Dedicating resources to producing, publishing, and promoting content is arguably one of the most difficult digital marketing disciplines to tackle. In fact, eMarketer’s 2014 SEO Marketing Benchmark Summary Report ranked quality content as the most effective SEO tactic, but the hardest to execute. Evidence shows that businesses should look at content creation as an investment, however.
In the past, dealers often only posted simple inventory information to their sites, but that’s not the type of engaging content that earns high rankings in search. Our company helps dealers leverage content marketing as part of a comprehensive digital strategy. These efforts have garnered, on average, a 62% increase in organic traffic that resulted in over 250% increase in total events, such as new inventory searches, mobile engagement, “click to calls,” and more.
It’s true that Google’s new search algorithm puts consumers first, placing greater emphasis on the quality of the user experience. But Mobilegeddon should be embraced—not feared—by digital marketers. The changes encourage marketers to produce better content that is more relevant to their customers, better equipping them to make decisions about their purchases. In other words, the opportunity to reach customers is greater than ever before.
Troy Smith is president of Search Optics, a leading digital marketing provider with a specialty in automotive. He has a diverse background in digital marketing, technology, automotive, and sales. He helps more than 1,000 automotive dealers and OEMs integrate digital marketing campaigns that emphasize return on investment.0