Undoubtedly, the era of mobile is upon us.
Since mobilegeddon in 2015, quite a few financial firms have been struggling to get on top of mobile search. Literally.
Google has been at the forefront of pushing mobile-friendly websites higher in its search engine. Now, we’re seeing even more shakeup in the SEO landscape. If financial services marketing doesn’t take notice, it risks getting left behind.
Last November, Google released a blog about its experimentation with something called Mobile First. At that point it was more of a local experiment. Now in 2017, it’s looking like they’re set for a global roll-out.
As specialists in financial services marketing, it hasn’t come as a surprise to us. Most people now browse Google using a mobile device, so the move by Google seems common sense.
The imminent change to prepare for is this. Google will be using the mobile version of web content as its base index.
What does this mean for financial services marketing? It means that from this point on, all financial firms need to regard the mobile version of their website to be at least as important as the desktop version. Preferably more so.
Is Google “Splitting Its Search Index?” What Does That Even Mean?
So Google is set to start crawling mobile versions of web pages, first and foremost, as the main source for its search algorithm.
Google’s blog post created some confusion, however. Some people thought they were saying Google was planning on splitting its search index.
This means that Google would have had two search engines, in effect – one for mobile, and one for desktop. However, that isn’t the case according to Google’s representatives.
There will be one index. So financial services marketing needs to put mobile at the heart of its web marketing efforts. It can’t rely on a second, desktop-friendly index to keep them afloat in the shorter term.
Some Practical Next Steps For Financial Services Marketing
To some degree, this development has already been made live by Google. It hasn’t been fully rolled-out yet, but it will be this year.
Financial services marketing needs to be ready for this big change. It will affect the search rankings of IFA websites, as well as those of other financial sectors. If your website isn’t responsive to mobiles and tablets, now’s the time for a website refresh.
It is no longer tenable to view mobile as just something for millennials. It is now a crucial cornerstone in any viable marketing strategy.
Here are some practical things you can do straight away.
#1 Check your mobile site is indexing properly
Pick up your smartphone, and open up the internet browser you use. Type in site:yourdomain.com and you should see some results. If not, your website has some issues!
Sometimes this happens because IFA websites have one URL for the desktop version of their website, and another for the mobile version.
If this is your situation, then you need to add a sitemap to the mobile version of your website. You will also need to take all of your mobile URLS, and assign them with canonical and alternate tags. From there, you need to go to Google Search Console and submit your sitemap. You’ll also need to put it into your robots.txt file. Just make sure the file isn’t blocking the robots from crawling.
#2 Review Your Google Search Console
Log into the Console dashboard, and go to Search Traffic and → Mobile Usability. This will tell you if there are any “mobile usability issues affecting your site.”
You’ll see a graph showing you mobile usability status versus time. It will display any mobile issues on your site, including:
- Viewport not set
- Clickable elements too close together
- Content that’s wider than the screen
- Text too small to read
From here, you can diagnose any problems and attempt to resolve them from there. If you’re not sure what you’re doing, make sure you get the help of someone experienced in this sort of financial services marketing.
Another feature of the Search Console you might want to use:
Go to → Crawl and then → Crawl Errors, which is the first tab. If there are any crawl errors on your website, you’ll see them here. If errors only appear on the mobile version of your site, you’ll see the difference here from the desktop report. Implement correct redirects on each of the displayed error pages, and run the report again.
#3 Check Your Page Speed
Any website with a poor loading speed is going to suffer at the hands of Google’s saerch algorithm.
You can check how fast your website is performing my entering your website into their Pagespeed Insight tool here.
Some of the recommended actions you get can be fixed yourself fairly easily – things like compressing large images files. If you need to minify JS or CSS, then you’re going to need the help of a developer. Unless you really know what you’re doing!