The Effect Of Google's Mobilegeddon On Radio Websites
May 19, 2015
From time to time, Google alters the algorithm that produces its search results. Google does this to try and improve its users' experience. If people get high-quality, relevant results by searching on Google, they will keep coming back. If their search results are filled with spammy or irrelevant results, people will eventually stop using Google and move to other search engines.
This means that the best strategy when it comes to getting your radio station's website to rank in Google's search results is simply to produce lots of high-quality content. Yes, there are some basic best practices (including keywords in page titles, internal links, properly tagged images, etc.), but companies that get too caught up in gaming Google's system are likely to take a hit when Google updates its algorithm.
In February, Google did something unusual. For the first time, it announced to the world how a forthcoming algorithm change would impact websites. The big headline? Because we are living in a world where people are increasingly using mobile devices to surf the web, Google would now give more weight to websites that are mobile-friendly.
The online community quickly dubbed this "Mobilegeddon."
The Mobilegeddon algorithm change officially launched on April 21st. Early reports suggest that the impact wasn't as drastic as people expected. Nonetheless, radio companies should take a good look at their website analytics to see if there has been a change in traffic patterns in the last few weeks, particularly in traffic coming from Google, and especially if your station's website is not mobile-friendly.
What does this mean for radio?
In all likelihood, not that much. In my experience, the majority of visitors to radio station websites come from "direct traffic." This means that people type your radio station's URL directly into their browser. It's not surprising that this is radio's top traffic source — most people are aware of local stations because they hear them on their radios, not because they see a link online. Direct traffic will not be affected by the Mobilegeddon update.
Neither will traffic from social media which, for radio stations that are active on social networks, is likely to be the second largest source of traffic.
However, if your radio stations have an active blogging strategy in place, and that strategy is producing a lot of traffic to your websites, this update could impact you. Make sure that you have a mobile-friendly version of each of your websites and monitor your analytics closely.
Of course, even if you don't generate a lot of web traffic from Google through an active blogging strategy, you still should make sure that your sites are mobile-friendly, because (a) a lot of your listeners use mobile devices, and (b) chances are, you will want to attract search engine traffic at some point in the future. So if you needed further incentive to pull the trigger on that mobile site, Google has now provided it.