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Google really wants your site to be mobile-friendly. It will even tell you if you are and walk you through steps to get there if you're not.

It started April 21, when Google announced two changes to help users discover more mobile-friendly content.

"When it comes to search on mobile devices," Google officials said in a blog, "users should get the most relevant and timely results, no matter if the information lives on mobile-friendly web pages or apps."

What do the changes mean for digital marketers and developers? We talked earlier about more tagging work in apps. Get ready for more app indexing, a series of element tags in apps listed in Google Play and connected to Google Webmaster. App developers have to install tags <intent filter>, <action>, and <data> into the app code. But that's not all.

Traffic from Where?

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Krista LaRiviere, CEO and co-founder of Barrie, Ontario-based gShift, a web presence analytics platform, told CMSWire marketers must be cognizant from where their traffic comes.

"Be clear on what percentage of traffic to your site is coming from mobile devices," she said. "Use data to understand where your areas of focus should be and do not ignore non-mobile traffic simply because of an announcement from Google."

She also said marketers must realize responsive design is not the be-all, end-all for search. Responsive does not mean mobile-friendly, she said.

"The idea of mobile-friendliness comes from how easy the site is to use on a mobile device," she said. "While a responsive theme will resize your site to fit a mobile screen, it does not ensure that the usability is improved."

Data is Queen

LaRiviere said digital marketers must make informed, data-driven decisions for mobile. Review the data from your mobile traffic with the same intensity that you do other traffic, she said.

"What is the conversion rate?" she asked. "What is the bounce rate? What are the referral sources?"

Marketers could also benefit if they publish content beyond their own site.

"Don't put your eggs in one basket with your website," LaRiviere said. "This is not only smart marketing for any content distribution strategy, but also ensures that your content lives elsewhere in the event that you receive a negative impact from Google's mobile algorithm change. This gives your outwardly distributed content a chance to still be seen and engaged with on other platforms."

You must also understand your current mobile discoverability. Do you know where your web presence currently ranks in mobile search engine results for your keywords?

"If not, you should," LaRiviere told CMSWire. "Having a snapshot of how your web presence is currently performing on a mobile based search engine will help you to better understand what, if any, impact Google's algorithm change has on your discoverability." 

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License Title image by woodleywonderworks.