Video Deep Dive: Upcoming Mobile Ranking Change
Mike Blumenthal


This is the 10th installment this year of our Deep Dive Into Local series. For the week ending Friday, March 18th, Mary Bowling and Mike Blumenthal shared their thoughts about the previous week in local. The complete video, including links and commentary on critical happenings of the previous week is posted in the Local U forums (paywall). In the second half of that video, they take a deeper strategic and tactical dive into one interesting area that caught their attention during the week.

In this discussion, we explore the impact of Google’s announcement of a new mobile ranking update coming later this spring.

Mary: And then Google says it’s going to crank up the dial on mobile friendliness. For that I think we’re going to move into our deep dive and talk about it. This one, again, seems to be pretty much focused on page speed and fat fingers. And it’s kind of interesting because they’re approaching this — they’re talking about this one more as a penalty than they did the last one. The last one they talked about, “Oh, you’re going to get a rankings boost if you become mobile friendly.” Now I’m seeing a lot of talk being, “You’re going to get penalized if you’re not mobile friendly.”

Mike: Yeah, some of that, you know — I mean Google plays the industry like a fiddle sometimes and leverages their high profile to make announcements that can drive industry behavior through FUD – fear, uncertainty and doubt. And they don’t have to make much effort then to get compliance. Let’s assume last time they got 15% compliance. They make this announcement and people talk about it for the next two months, they get another 15% compliance. All of a sudden, 40 or 50% of all the sites are mobile and they get what they need, in terms of user experience. All that being said, why do they care?

I showed you that example of the immersive search in, when you search for “car repair Boulder” and it relates back to the expansion people all search for. They’re bringing so much data, so much information directly on to Google. They’re sending fewer and fewer people off site. It’s interesting to think that on the one hand they’re demanding higher speeds while they’re, for the large part, making every effort that somebody not leave their site.

Mary: I know. It is kind of hard to reconcile.

Mike: I suppose they want the best of all worlds and they do. If somebody is going to make a decision to abandon a site and come back to Google, I guess Google wants them to make that decision quickly — and it’s true. It really is. I abandoned a fair number of sites that load slowly so it is a true user experience issue.

Although I see Google as … David made this point at local U, that he sees AMP as potentially flowing out of news into business sites where Google then essentially uses your website as a data source and then they host the content like they do with AMP and maybe this is a sort of a nudge in that direction, right? If they can —

Mary: Yeah, and it kind of reminds me of the pilot program that Google’s doing right now where they’re asking brands to markup schema on their site and let them see if they can just pull from schema directly into the knowledge panel without any intermediate stuff going on.

Mike: Kind of reminds me of when Jean-Luc Picard was absorbed by the Borg Collective, right?

Mary: Right. I think we better end this thing.

Mike: Yeah, well, it’s Friday afternoon and we’ll talk to you next week.

Mary: All right.

Mike: Thanks for joining us. Bye bye.

Mary: Bye.

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