By now, you’ve probably heard about #Mobilegeddon, Google’s recent algorithm update which puts more importance on a site’s “mobile-friendliness.” Ultimately, this will impact Google page rank by rewarding mobile-friendly sites with higher page rank, while “unfriendly” results could see a dramatic drop-off. Why is this important for recruitment websites?
1. Job seekers are increasingly using mobile devices over desktops. Over 1 billion job searches are conducted each MONTH on a mobile device – and that’s just in the United States. A 2014 Glassdoor survey on the Rise of Mobile Job Search indicated that 90% of people who planned look for a job within 12 months (that’s RIGHT NOW if you’re paying attention!) say that a mobile device is an important tool to use. Not only that, 25% of respondents would NOT apply for a job on a career site that is not mobilized. Frankly, I’m surprised it’s that low. And, various sources continue to report that nearly half of Fortune 500 companies are not mobile-friendly.
2. There is a real likelihood that sites deemed as “unfriendly” will see a devastating decline in their search results. If you’re a big, multinational recruitment firm with deep pockets for pay-per-click and other advertising, maybe that’s not a big concern. But for boutique recruitment firms, who rely on organic search to drive traffic and conversions, this is a Big Deal. Think about it: if a job seeker doesn’t know the NAME of your firm, they’re relying on Google to show them your site in their search results. Recruitment websites that are buried 3, 4, 5 or more pages deep in the results are going to lose candidates. It’s that simple. All of your hard-fought SEO efforts will be for naught.
Why is Google making this change? Simply put, because it’s better for users. Have you ever had a miserable experience trying to navigate a website on your phone? Did you leave? Have you gone back? For many people the answers are YES, they left and NO, they didn’t go back.
What is a mobile-friendly site? Some of the major criteria that Google evaluates are:
- Content that is sized appropriately for the user’s device without horizontal (left-right) scrolling
- Websites that can be easily read and navigated without pinching and zooming
- Page links spaced far enough apart that the user can easily tap the correct link (oh-my-garbage-I-hate-this-so-much)
- Does not contain content that is not mobile-supported, such a Flash video
There is some positive news: first, the update ONLY impacts searches conducted on smartphones. Desktop and tablets are not affected. Second, the algorithm is applied on a per-page basis, not a per-site basis. Individual pages that are mobile-friendly will not be negatively impacted by non-friendly pages. Finally, contrary to some rumors, Google will not “delist” sites that are not mobile-friendly. Read here for an in-depth list of questions and answers.
How can you tell if your recruitment website is mobile-friendly? Try this great tool from Google – just type in your web address.