Google Announces Significant Changes

As a marketer who uses email, you know as well as I do, your campaigns do not stand alone. Without proper support from your website—and throughout your organization—email campaigns will produce disappointing results. With that said, Google’s recent announcement of impending significant changes affects us as much as our Web developer team. Pay heed

As a marketer who uses email, you know as well as I do, your campaigns do not stand alone. Without proper support from your website—and throughout your organization—email campaigns will produce disappointing results. With that said, Google’s recent announcement of impending significant changes affects us as much as our Webdeveloper team. Pay heed.

In short, Google’s announcement focuses on two primary points—both of which are designed to acknowledge the mobile-device and app trends and provide suitable content to the device user. The purpose of this new release is:

  1. Google will return more mobile-friendly websites in search results.
  2. Google will return more relevant app content in search results when a signed-in user has the app installed.

To date, Google has checked websites for mobile compatibility, and if you are the webmaster, provided you with an email to keep you abreast of potential concerns and how you might address those issues—a fairly passive, observer-type approach.

With this announcement, beginning on 21 April, Google is apparently poised to take a harder line and relegate non-mobile websites to the far reaches of results—which will not affect direct links you’ve embedded in your campaign, but will most certainly affect future searches your constituents perform to revisit your site or to find additional information.

Does this have a real, measurable impact on you? Most certainly.

We recently ran a campaign where we checked the websites of thousands of our subscribers, leads and clients and were astonished to find only around 30 percent of them have properly functioning mobile websites, and less than 1 percent have a mobile app. The campaign was designed to highlight the experience of their clients when visiting their website and encourage them to purchase Web-development or app-development services. We included a screenshot of an iPhone 6 and on the phone’s screen we displayed an actual view of their site.

If this 30 percent suddenly shifts to the top of search results, imagine what this could do to your rankings if you do not have a mobile site. Assuming you’ve implemented a good SEO strategy, and are enjoying a top-ranking website, you will now have 30 companies displayed before you. With typical search-results pages showing the top ten companies, this means you have been relegated from page one to perhaps page three or even four.

With these changes, mobile sites—and landing and squeeze pages—have gone from important to critical. Your site and all campaign pages must provide sufficient depth to answer questions visitors may have beyond what the campaign provides or questions return visitors have—and in a format appropriate to the visitor’s device.

Updating your site doesn’t have to be difficult. If you’re using WordPress, there are plug-ins that you can add to your current theme in order to present the site in a mobile format. One I’ve used and had a good experience with is WP Touch.

If you have an HTML site, things become a bit more difficult, but not unmanageable. You might consider switching your site to a WordPress site with a mobile theme, which would negate the need to add a third-party plug-in to convert the site. Another option would be to post a new site specifically for your mobile users, and use javascript or an .htaccess file to detect what device your visitor is using and then send them to the appropriate site.

You do need to think beyond your website, no matter which option you choose. This affects landing pages, squeeze pages and microsites as well.

In other words, if you’re not mobile, you may not be relevant.

Melissa Campanelli’s The View From Here: Two Signs That ‘Traditional’ and ‘Social’ Online Marketing Are Becoming One

Two announcements were made this week that in my eyes signify a true integration of traditional and social marketing.

Two announcements were made this week that in my eyes signify a true integration of traditional and social marketing.

The first was the announcement that Omniture and Facebook have joined forces to provide online marketers with solutions to optimize Facebook as a marketing channel. The partnership builds on the Facebook analytics and Facebook application analytics capabilities Omniture announced last year.

This alliance is designed to help companies integrate Facebook as a marketing channel and connect to relevant conversations with the site’s 400 million active users.

Initially, “the two companies will focus on the most fundamental needs of online marketers today: the ability to automate Facebook media buying and access analytics that measure customer engagement on Facebook,” according to an Omniture press release.

The solution, for example, will enable advertisers to buy media and track media on Facebook through Omniture tools such as SearchCenter Plus. It will also enable them to generate reports designed to understand ad effectiveness of Facebook pages and other Facebook applications.

The two companies will continue to expand their partnership as marketers increasingly use Facebook to optimize visitor acquisition, conversion and retention, Omniture said.

The next announcement came from email marketing provider ExactTarget, which announced this week that it has acquired CoTweet, a web-based collaboration platform that allows companies to manage multiple Twitter accounts from a single dashboard, support multiple editors, track conversations, assign roles and create follow-up tasks.

The acquisition will enable ExactTarget to offer marketers a solution for managing communications across all interactive marketing channels, including social media, email and mobile.

A key reason for the acquisition was because ExactTarget was finding that while “organizations are moving quickly to try to capture the potential of social, they’re also discovering that it’s siloed and not integrated effectively with other forms of digital communications,” said Scott Dorsey, ExactTarget co-founder and chief executive officer, in a press release. “By combining the power of ExactTarget and CoTweet, we can provide businesses with a complete solution to tie together all forms of interactive communications and drive deeper customer engagement online.”

I’ll bet there’ll be more announcements like these to come in 2010, as digital marketing software and service providers really begin to understand the impact social media is having on consumers and marketers alike.