Anticipation of these major search events strike fear and trembling in the hearts of companies that are heavily dependent on web search optimization

Google is constantly fiddling with their search engines, which makes search optimization an ever-moving target. Then from time to time they roll out major substantial changes. 

Anticipation of these major search events strikes fear and trembling in the hearts of companies that are heavily dependent on web search optimization for good reason. On occasion they have been disastrous for companies. Though in most cases even when punishing to companies they have been good for users.

These algorithm changes mostly are thought of in negative terms but with smart positioning they can give you a competitive advantage.

I was recently chatting with Adrienne Mansfield of Sage Age Strategies, a Senior Housing Forum partner, about search optimization for senior living organization and she asked me if I was aware of the big change coming on April 21. 

April 21, 2015

Adrienne pointed me to an article at Copyblogger titled Will Your Website Survive the Upcoming Google Mobile Penalty? Here is what is happening on April 21 from the mouth of Google:

Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.

In other words, this means beginning April 21 if your website is not mobile friendly your search ranking will be punished. It might mean . . . for instance, that if you typically show up on page one in search, you could be pushed to 2, 3 or even worse.

Good News, Though

The good news, though, is that if your website is mobile friendly, and you don’t show up on page one, you might very well move up in ranking. It is these kinds of events that provide even small senior living companies the opportunity to get a jump on their competitors. The momentous shifts are made for nimble creative business people.

Do You Know?

Perhaps the place to start is to ask if you even know what percentage of visitors access your website through a mobile device? When I first began publishing Senior Housing Forum I assumed almost everyone was reading it at their desk top. 

Then I did some digging where I looked at website visits and devices that were being used to open the Senior Housing Forum daily emails. Mobile accounted for well over half my traffic and, at that time, the site was not mobile friendly.

My guess is that at least a third of your traffic comes from mobile devices.

Adrienne took a look at the traffic statistics for their senior living clients and here is how it breaks out:

Type of Care/Website Percent Mobile
Assisted Living Plus Memory Care Assisted Living 32%
Regional Senior Living Provider Sites 35%
Free Standing Memory Care 35%
CCRC 27%
Independent Living 27%
Average 32%

Making It Work For Your  Website

Adrienne listed several very specific items from the Copyblogger article that senior living communities should consider:

  1. Add a Mobile Friendly Tag to your website. This is something your website developer can do for you.
  2. Google is looking for the following:
    1. Website software that’s compatible with mobile (so no Flash, for example)
    2. Large, readable text without zooming
    3. Content automatically resizes to fit the screen (so you don’t have to scroll horizontally)
    4. Large links with plenty of space between each so they are easily tapped
    5. Google has provided a place where you can test the mobile friendliness of your website here:      TEST MY WEBSITE

Here are the results from Senior Housing Forum

Senior Housing Forum Mobile Friendly Test Results

And Sage Age Strategies

Sage Age Strategies Mobile Friendly Test

I spent a little time checking out the mobile friendliness of several assisted living and skilled nursing communities in the Sacramento, California area and found about 60% of the sites are mobile friendly and the rest are not.

Is your site mobile friendly?

Steve Moran