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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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JD Rucker

JD Rucker Founder

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Google: Go Mobile-Friendly or Go Away, Automotive Website Providers

Mobile-Friendly

We have had the blessing of only "blacklisting" a couple of website providers since we started doing SEO for dealers in 2013. Now, there's a chance we'll need to blacklist some more thanks to Google finalizing its "mobile-friendly" algorithm update.

More and more traffic going to dealership websites is on mobile devices because more people use their phones and tablets as their primary (often only) method of going online. The mobile-friendly update only affects those searching on mobile devices (for now) so some dealers have challenges and they don't even know it based upon no loss in rankings on desktop searches.

They'll see it in their traffic numbers.

In essence, the update is designed to push websites lower in mobile searches if they do not play well with mobile devices. There are a handful of things that can cause this such as small fonts, small buttons, Flash components, or basically anything that is not conducive to delivering a great mobile experience.

It's page by page, meaning that having a page that's flawed will not necessarily tank the whole site. This is good because it makes it easier to fix but it's bad because it makes it harder to identify. You need to check many of your pages, particularly inventory, video pages, and specials, using Google's mobile-friendly test tool.

This is separate from Google's 1:1 mobile:desktop search component which favors websites with pages that load on any type of device. A website can be 1:1 compliant and not be mobile-friendly; visa versa is true as well.

Thankfully, most website providers have been making the move to mobile for some time and most dealers don't have to worry, but some do. This is one of those things that can truly affect business. If you find that your website is not mobile-friendly, it's time to make a change very soon.

Carl Maeda
Agreed! One thing I would like to add is that Google put together this awesome FAQ to answer questions about their latest Mobile update: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2015/04/faqs-april-21st-mobile-friendly.html
JD Rucker
Thanks Carl, as always!
Steven Leavy
Dealerships need to embrace mobile and start looking into click to call technology. As a very large supplier of inbound calls in the insurance industry we are seeing a lot of carriers and agents having tremendous success on a pay per call rather than a pay per lead. Our dealer call program will be launching in a month so please reach out to me to find out how it works. steve@revpointmedia.com
Alexander Lau
Yes and I've been preaching Responsive Automotive Websites for 5 years and one reason my former employer ranks #1 in the world for https://www.google.com/search?q=automotive+responsive+sites and https://www.google.com/search?q=automotive+responsive+websites Ahead of all of the giants! *In an evil sounding laugh, "Muhahahahahah!"
Gary May
Good post, JD, however dealers and the website providers need to go so much deeper. The mobile-friendly test is a surface one. Per the post, many pass. However, one step further through the number of tools Google makes available via the Developers and Webmaster sites/blogs will reveal the speed and user friendly tests. By the way, Google made the mobile algorithm announcement on their Developers site February 23, 2015, nearly TWO MONTHS before the industry and most major publications started paying attention. There is where the real litmus test begins since nearly ALL automotive website providers have issues with their sites that are structural and code-based. Run your website here: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ and wee what results develop, then contact your website provider and open a ticket with the fixes. That's where the issues go way, way, way deeper. IM@CS has been providing insight to clients since 2014 about the move to mobile, specifically server-side responsive sites. While nearly no automotive dealer website provider is compliant across the board, some will be able to get up to speed quicker than the rest. What's truly laughable is some of the website companies have been "spinning" the mobile-friendly only test, indicating their sites are fine. Marketing at its best, however not true! This effort to truly keep automotive in the forefront of marketing just get a swift kick, and that was no surprise. Only the most progressive who have great relationships with their partners are going to lead, keeping in mind Google (and Bing and others) will continue to make more significant changes and data updates as the results come in. Notice how few vendors and consulting companies, including those that profess "digital knowledge" are not addressing the specifics, let alone providing much insight at all. Yes, it's all about mobile (we've been saying that since 2013), it's all about the customer experience, it's all about speed and compliance, it's all about staying focused on an area the the majority of dealerships are still not willing to. Wishing everyone a greater understanding, focus, knowledge and a more determined resolve to improve. Gary May IM@CS

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