Small law

Google’s Mobilegeddon May Hurt Small Businesses
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Google has updated its search algorithm to favor websites with mobile friendly displays.

Summary: Google’s update to its search algorithm may push small businesses to the bottom of search results if their websites are not mobile friendly.

According to Lexblog, Google’s latest update to its mobile search algorithm, called “Mobilegeddon,” may end up damaging small businesses, such as law firms. The content marketing of small firms, whether via websites or legal blogs, will take a hit in search results.


According to Jillian D’onfro from Business Insider, the update ranks websites based on how “mobile friendly” they are: “The algorithm will start favoring mobile-friendly websites (ones with large text, easy-to-click links, and that resize to fit whatever screen they’re viewed on) and ranking them higher in search. Websites that aren’t mobile-friendly will get demoted. About 60% of online traffic now comes from mobile and Google wants users to have a good experience whenever they click on a mobile link.” According to USA Today, desktop searches are not affected by the change.

Many businesses were unaware of the change to the algorithm, and others delayed the expense of updating their websites.

Sarah Perez of TechCrunch also noted that the update could negatively impact nearly half of Fortune 500 companies’ websites.

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Google was threatened with a lawsuit after nude celebrity photos leaked last year. 

According to Vizibility, 53 percent of the 350 largest law firms do not have mobile-friendly websites. Additionally, 73 percent of 1,000 blogs published by the Am Law 200 are not formatted for mobile viewing.

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Google recommends responsive web design, or RWD, for mobile browsing. Depending on the viewing device, whether it is an iPhone or a laptop, the site’s display will be rendered differently based upon the screen size.

Vizibility added, “For law firms, mobile devices generate one-third of the website traffic reported by FindLaw customers. But this growing issue is foreshadowed by mainstream browsing which skews 50% higher than that. According to a February 2015 IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark survey, mobile traffic accounted for 46.5% of all online traffic. Even if you don’t have a lot of traffic from mobile devices today…you will.”

Google was ordered to pay $19 million for children’s unauthorized app purchases.

Google listed the responses to some frequently asked questions, including whether, if an audience, such as that of a law firm, is mostly desktop, why a website would need to be changed: “…Statistics show that more people are going “mobile only” — either because they never had a desktop or because they won’t replace their existing desktop. Additionally, a non-mobile-friendly site may not see many mobile visitors precisely for that reason. The mobile-friendly update will apply to mobile searches conducted across all sites, regardless of the site’s target audiences’ language, region, or proportion of mobile to desktop traffic.”

D’Onfro commented that businesses that did not update their mobile sites in time fell into four categories: 1) those who did not know about the change, 2) those who felt the process of changing the site was too difficult or expensive, 3) those who scrambled to update their sites at the last second, and 4) those who just so happened to be prepared for the change and had already updated their websites.

Many law firms are attempting to cut expenses, such as real estate costs.

Many law firms said that they had more pressing matters to attend to, or that they would have to wait until next year’s budget to implement the changes. According to NPR, many companies and organizations that have mobile apps felt that they did not need to update their websites.

Those firms that delay making the necessary changes will have their content ranked lower in search results than those firms with mobile-friendly displays.

Source: Lexblog

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