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What have you learned from Mobilegeddon?

What pundits refer to as Mobilegeddon was the big change in Google’s search algorithm. Google has begun downgrading sites that don’t use responsive design or in some other way optimize their display on small screen sizes. It’s caused a minor panic among sites that weren’t ready.

Whether or not your site was affected by Mobilegeddon, you can learn something from it.

The biggest lesson is this: the more you think of search as being a silo that is not affected by any other digital marketing trends, the less successful you will be at search. Let’s think about how Mobilegeddon is just one example of the bigger lesson we need to learn:

  • 2001: Quality matters in paid search, too. When paid search started, the highest bidder got the top spot. When Google pioneered AdWords, it first used clickthrough rate, and now uses myriad factors that try to identify better quality search results. If you have stepped up the quality of your paid search content, you’ve suffered through higher fees and lower traffic.
  • 2007: Social media is an important kind of content. A few years ago, Google showed a sea of blue links leading to web pages. If you waited for the search engines to start showing social results before you decided social media was important, that probably hurt your search marketing a lot.
  • 2012: Privacy is becoming more important. Although skeptics (including me) question whether Google and Bing blocked keyword referrals because of privacy concerns, the truth is that privacy is becoming more important every year. If your search marketing efforts depended on discretely identifying all keyword referrals, your efforts took a big hit.

Now, in 2015, websites must work just as well on mobile as they do on desktops–or else your search results suffer. If you continually “chase the algorithm” by looking at what Google rewards today rather than following the larger trends in digital marketing, you will always feel like you are waiting for the other shoe to drop.

And, honestly, it won’t be just a feeling. You must be focused on constantly improving the experience for your customers, regardless of whether the search engine is currently expecting it. Keep moving, keep improving, and the search engines will eventually come around. Wait for them to come around and you will be the last one to adjust when the search engines move on.

Which company do you want to be?

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in internet marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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