You may have seen the news about Google changing their search algorithm to account for ‘mobile-friendly’ results.
Excitable folks in the news media are portending significant shifts and swings in search results, with some fortunes dashed, primarily due to the fact that those websites that are not responsive (those that do not re-size and re-configure depending on whether a desktop versus a mobile phone is displaying them) will suffer.
For reference, Mark Yolton, VP of Digital, Cisco believes even just a few shifts in position for a consumer site or keyword can mean millions of $$ in revenue.
Yet, the exact ‘weight’ that Google has applied to mobile friendly sites in their rankings is not public, nor are some other details.
“The good news is that we have been aware of this change since February,” Yolton adds.
“Knowing that 99.5 percent of mobile users will not proceed past the home page if it is not responsive web, we have been taking ‘mobile-first’ very seriously within Cisco.”
As a result, Yolton says all new web design and publishing over the last year-and-a-half has been built with a responsive, mobile first framework.
“In addition, we’ve prioritised the pages and areas within Cisco.com and are converting templates, designs, and content to be mobile-responsive based on traffic and importance,” he explains.
But for Yolton, the challenge is that there are still legacy portions of Cisco.com that are not yet mobile friendly, this includes many of the product pages within the site (although 5,000 product support pages are mobile-optimised).
“We have a long way to go until all 500,000 Cisco.com pages, across all 85 country sites and 45 languages, are mobile-friendly,” Yolton adds.
“But we are making steady progress and moving forward by maximising the resources available while ensuring the highest quality digital experience.
“While we are methodically moving these pages to a mobile framework, the long-term solution is to redesign and rebuild these pages with mobile in mind from the beginning.”
Until the transformation is complete, Yolton estimates a 3-5 percent reduction on SEO traffic to these pages as a consequence of the Google change.
“If you manage a web presence, you’ll want to move to a mobile-friendly responsive web design and implementation,” Yolton adds.
“If you consume search and websites from a smart phone, you might notice a change in Google results and a more rapid conversion and broader availability of mobile-friendly web content.”