In last week’s SEO Trends report we explained that Google has brought out a new version of its mobile friendliness assessment tool. The release of this revamped tool seems to be part of a suite of changes Google is now releasing in its mobile search capabilities. You probably thought all the effort you made last April to get your law firm’s site a mobile version was about all the work you would need to invest on the topic of mobile. However, a little more than a year later, Google has returned to the topic, and so should you.
Of all the SEO news sites, Search Engine Watch has paid the most attention to recent changes in mobile capabilities, so we have a lot of references to that publication this week. We also have some articles from Search Engine Land that we think you should read.
It seems that Google rewrote its mobile-friendliness algorithm and ran it just over a week ago. However, this algorithm doesn’t just enhance the rankings of mobile pages, it can downgrade the rankings of all the pages on a site. In fact, as this article explains, the downside effects on standard Web pages are more notable that the enhancements made to some mobile pages. If your law firm’s Google rankings seem to have taken a sudden hit recently, this algorithm update may be the reason why.
If you find that your law firm’s mobile version of its website hasn’t resulted in any more customers you could also be in the category of businesses that recently got a general ranking downgrade from the recent algorithm update. This article explains steps you can take to get more value out of your mobile pages investment. It seems that AMP is a big influencing factor on the recent algorithm change, so that is an area you will need to investigate further. This report explains that users in the USA don’t make as many purchases on their smartphones as in emerging economies. This shouldn’t worry you too much, because your site is all about getting follow-through visits into your offices.
The end of this article is of interest on the topic of getting people to follow through a search with a visit to your law firm. This is an “online-to-offline” metric, which Google is now striving to define. If they can manage it, this figure would be of great value to law firms because none of you expect to complete your business with clients entirely over the Internet. Another encouraging figure in this report is that local search on mobile is growing 50 percent faster than general searches on smart phones. This is a key factor for law firms, because you get almost all of your customers from your local area.
After reading the two articles above, you might conclude that it could be better for your law firm to focus all your effort on your mobile pages and treat your Web pages as supplementary. That is, change your Web-strategy so that you design the mobile pages first, and then generate a computer-friendly version from that. If that is the way you end up going, this article has some suggestions on how you can go about creating your mobile-first page designs.
After launching a new version of its mobile-friendliness testing tool, Google went on to launch updates of a range of its products to enhance their services to mobile pages. This article summarizes all of those changes. The bid adjustment changes explained in point 3 of this report are better explained in the Search Engine Land article Google AdWords to break up tablet & desktop and enable a mobile base bid. These changes haven’t actually been implemented yet, so there is nothing you can do about this for the time being. There is, however, work you need to do in Google’s Search Console. You can now tie together different sites into one “property set.” This means if you have different addresses for your mobile and Web versions, you can get them treated as one. You can read more about these changes in the article Tie your web, and mobile properties together in Search Console, plus three more recent changes.