Mobile-ize

May 7, 2015 -  By

palmieriThis month’s cover story touches on mobile phones and their role in the smart home movement. It’s an interesting read from Associate Editor Sarah Pfledderer. But that’s not what this column’s about. It’s about another piece of mobile-related information pertinent to your business.

But first: Do you ever stop to marvel at all the things the small rectangular device in your pocket can do? (Or maybe it’s not so small these days if you’ve upgraded to the iPhone 6 Plus.)

If you’re like me, you’re probably too busy fending off kids who want to watch YouTube videos on your phone to stand in awe of it. But, when you really think about it, it’s astonishing.

Last year I read an article about a 1991 Radio Shack ad promoting 15 consumer gadgets. We’re talking a stereo, alarm clock, calculator, camcorder and the like. Of those items, the cost of which totaled more than $5,000 in today’s dollars, you now have 13 of them in your pocket at all times in the form of your $200 smartphone. Is that not amazing?

Think about everything we use them for—not the least of which is to replace the Yellow Pages. That brings me to my point. Late last month Google instituted a major search change dubbed “Mobile-geddon.” The name may be slightly dramatic, but if you’re familiar with the terms Panda, Penguin or Hummingbird, you may know how these algorithm changes can wreak havoc on websites.

Google said it now will favor websites it deems “mobile-friendly,” or those that fit nicely on a small smartphone screen without requiring a bunch of pinching-and-pulling to view.

Why does Google care? More than two-thirds of American adults now own smartphones, according to a study released last month by the Pew Research Center. That’s up from 35 percent in spring 2011. Not surprisingly, smartphone ownership is especially high among younger Americans, as well as those with relatively high income and education levels. In other words: your target clients.

Google wants to make web searching better and easier for people. It doesn’t want to serve up a results page full of websites you (or your clients) won’t be able to view on a smartphone. In fact, it’s going as far as labeling each search result with the term “mobile-friendly” so users know whether it’s worth their time to click on the site.

Not sure if your site gets the stamp of approval? Get on your smartphone, open your browser and Google search for your company’s name. On the results page, does it say “mobile-friendly” underneath the name of your website? This test is the first indicator of how your site is doing.

I’m happy to say the LM site passes muster, thanks to our crack digital team who had the foresight to make our site mobile-friendly more than a year ago. Our Digital Operations Manager Bethany Chambers was nice enough to pen a helpful blog post for readers looking to upgrade their websites ASAP. Check it out here.

And let me know if you’ve mobile-ized your site, whether Google’s recent changes have had an impact on your business and how you’re handling it.

About the Author:

Marisa Palmieri is an experienced Green Industry editor who's won numerous awards for her coverage of the landscape and golf course markets from the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA), the Press Club of Cleveland and the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE). In 2007, ASBPE named her a Young Leader. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism, cum laude, from Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism.

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