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What Google’s mobile friendliness means for marketers

On April 21, Google will expand “mobile friendliness” as a search ranking signal, affecting global mobile searches in all languages, and having a “significant impact” on results. Today, gShift, the web presence analytics vendor, released survey results showing that marketers are bracing for repercussions.

  • More than half the survey respondents expected Google’s move to affect business, while 20 percent did not, and 28 percent remained unsure.
  • More than 65 percent were actively taking steps to prepare for the change.
  • More than 68 percent thought their web presence was already mobile friendly.

The survey embraced 275 digital marketers, mainly decision-makers at CMO or director level, across a range of industries.

In simple terms, Google will deliver mobile friendly search results to users searching on mobile devices. It has already defined mobile friendliness and provided a test page for websites to check the mobile friendliness of their design. The change seems likely to have a major impact on brands which neglect the importance of providing a consistent customer experience across mobile as well as traditional web channels. The gShift survey results imply that the majority of brands think they have mobile covered.

Google is saying that the change will not impact results from desktop searches, and has also said that mobile friendliness is a binary designation: there will be no degrees of friendliness.

Despite gShift’s finding that most digital marketers are aware of, and feel prepared for, the change, it’s notable that such large minorities don’t know what effect on business the change will have, and are doing nothing to prepare for it.

gShift also notes that almost half the marketers surveyed do not compare rankings on desktop and mobile.

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