44% of SMB Sites Could Get Google-Slammed on April 21
On Tuesday, Google plans to start ranking mobile-friendly sites higher on search engine results pages. That could mean as many as 44 percent of small- to medium-sized companies' websites will see lower SERP rankings.
"Of the small businesses that have a website, only 56 percent have a responsive design website that is mobile-friendly," writes Clutch, a Washington, DC-based research firm, in its April 15 research announcement. "However, the survey also showed signs of improvement, as 23 percent plan to increase website spending in 2015."
In the same survey, one in four SMB representatives tell Clutch they don't have websites and 10 percent claim they never will create sites.
Clutch reports many SMBs are also not taking advantage of another SEO ranking advantage: 47 percent of small businesses aren't active on social media.
However, 45 percent of SMBs do employ search engine optimization and 25 percent activate online advertising.
For SMBs needing responsive design options by Tuesday, there are two options:
1. Hire a Vendor to Do It.
2. Go Step-by-Step Through a 'How-to' Guide, like this one from the Treehouse Blog:
- Use Fluid Grids, so visitors can see the content, no matter what the screen size is that they're using. (Roey Franco of Sizmek makes the same recommendation in February 2014 in Target Marketing.) "In order to calculate the proportions for each page element, you must divide the target element by its context," advises post author Nick Pettit. "Currently, the best way to do this is to first create a high-fidelity mockup in a pixel-based imaged editor, like Photoshop. With your high-fidelity mockup in hand, you can measure a page element and divide it by the full width of the page."
- Avoid Complex Designs. For instance, three-column layouts will break down on mobile phones, but if those are necessary, use CSS3 media queries, Pettit says in 2012. "They basically allow you to gather data about the site visitor and use it to conditionally apply CSS styles," he writes. He suggests targeting pixel widths of 320px, 480px, 600px, 768px, 900px and 1200px. (Adam Khoury provides a YouTube tutorial on how to create CSS3 media queries here.)
According to the U.S. Census Bureau in 2012, 5.7 million firms with fewer than 500 employees accounted for the paychecks of more than 56 million Americans in trades ranging from construction to finance. (About 18,000 companies with more than 500 employees account for nearly 60 million jobs.) In light of this, should SMBs be doing more online marketing? If so, what?
Related story: April 21 Is D-Day for Mobile SEO