Does it feel like we’re always trumpeting some game-changing update to the online advertising world? You’re not wrong. But that’s because the online advertising world is always changing. As consumer behavior evolves, so must advertising. In the last couple of years, the most dramatic change in consumer behavior has been the rapidly growing usage of mobile devices. Advertisers and search engines alike have had to make sweeping updates in order to account for the fact that, on the whole, more people are using mobile devices than personal computers. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the two biggest changes to watch out for in the second half of 2015 are both linked to the rise in mobile usage.
Here’s what you need to know to keep your advertising campaign on the right track through the end of the year.
The Emphasis on Mobile Will Affect Your Leads
Not only has Google begun evaluating the mobile-friendliness of every indexed webpage, but it also factors the level of mobile-friendliness into each page’s ranking on mobile search results. Essentially, this means your rankings will plummet in mobile search results if you don’t update the structure of your website and make it as mobile-friendly as possible.
Not worried about your mobile search rankings? Think your business will be fine without any leads from mobile users? Think again. In July 2014, the search industry discovered that Internet usage on mobile devices had surpassed Internet usage on personal desktop computers. Then, just last month, Google announced that this trend had affected search queries, as well: In the U.S. and other parts of the world, more Google search queries are occurring on smartphones and mobile devices than on desktops. In other words, if you’re not ranking in mobile search results, you’re missing out on over half of your target customers.
Facebook’s Gone Mobile, Too
Not only will your Google rankings drop if your site isn’t mobile friendly, but you’ll also alienate any prospects who come across your site by other means, like social media. Did you know that, in 2015, 87% of Facebook’s active monthly users accessed Facebook from their mobile devices? If you’re using Facebook to promote your business, this means many of your target customers will be connecting to your site from Facebook on their smartphones or tablets. But if your site won’t load or display correctly because it’s not optimized for mobile, then you’ll lose those customers who got frustrated and moved on.
Unique, Good-Quality Photos Are a Must-Have
Thanks to the prominence of mobile, photos on your Google listing went from being nice-to-haves to must-haves. This shift has as much to do with user experience as it does with search engine ranking.
Appeal to Real People
When people use their smartphones to search for local businesses, they’re usually doing so because they’re on the go and need to make a quick decision. Since mobile users don’t have lots of time or patience on their hands, you want to grab their attention right away. This is where photos come in. Adding catchy photos of your business logo, staff members, products, and/or services will signal to them right away that you’re a legitimate company. They’ll immediately get a sense of what your company is about without having to do too much reading or scrolling. Photos of real people and places speak louder than any description you could possibly write. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.
This applies to more than just your Google listing, too. It applies to anywhere that your company can be found. Whether it’s on your own website, Facebook, Yelp, or another online directory, your content should be filled with compelling photos to boost your credibility.
Appeal to Search Bots
Photos appeal to the search bots, too. We’ve recently observed that our clients’ Google listings perform much better when they contain several unique, good-quality photos. That’s because Google’s algorithm has begun weighting photos more heavily, which is probably linked to its new focus on mobile search. As we explained above, photos make for a more mobile-friendly experience, and Google understands this. It wants to give its users the best search experience possible, so it’s prioritizing listings that have the highest appeal. So not only will photos improve your appearance to mobile users, but they will strengthen your search performance, as well.
How to Act
Thankfully, responding to these changes is simple and easy.
To Become Mobile Friendly…
Talk to your online advertising provider, or whoever designed your website, and find out if your site is already optimized for mobile. If it’s not, then you better take action quickly. Most providers and designers—legitimate ones, anyway—are equipped to make this upgrade relatively easily. It shouldn’t cost much time or money to make this very necessary upgrade to your template.
To Add Photos to Your Listings and Pages…
Again, talk to your online advertising provider (if you have one). Send in your own photos and have your advertiser upload them to your site and all of your listings. If you’re working with a provider, do not attempt to upload them to your Google listing on your own. (Google doesn’t like it when a listing is being managed from two disparate IP addresses.) However, if you’re doing all of your advertising on your own, then you’re obviously free to upload photos wherever and whenever you wish.
Remember: When we say “unique, good-quality photos,” we mean that literally. Using stock photos, despite their professional quality, will not do anything to sell your company. People can spot impersonal stock photos from a mile away. Sure, they’re better than no photos at all, but they won’t do much to improve your lead generation or credibility. You’re better off taking your own photos for free. With the high camera quality on smartphones these days, it’s not at all difficult to snap a high-resolution photo while you’re on the job. You have no excuses!