Christina Malcolm, Carat and iProspect.
The impact of the new Google mobile search algorithm on retailers
Google’s latest algorithm change will have a significant impact on retailers. Since mobile users now make up such a large proposition of all website traffic; retailers no longer appearing in high positions in Google’s mobile search engine results page will miss out on this large proportion of all traffic.
Those brands which have not yet prioritised their marketing and communications in line with the foreseeable rise of mobile, will see this as yet another problem to add to the digital to do list. Less traffic ultimately means less sales.
In contrast, retailers at the forefront of the digital age, with optimised websites and complex digital marketing strategies, have already started to embrace the rise of mobile. It is these retailers who have started investing in mobile features and responsive sites, and therefore it is these digital savvy retailers who will be rewarded.
Will this accelerate retailers mobile adoption?
This acceleration has been a long time coming. Google has been highlighting the importance of a holistic user journey on different devices for many years now, providing best practice guides and advice.
While many retailers have ignored the increasing growth of mobile, this change is likely to make mobile website functionality a priority. Many brands will now be forced to confront this mobile itch, and invest in website enhancements and responsive web design for different devices.
The power of search in retail
Users research, compare, and actually purchase online and therefore search is a crucial touchpoint for many large retailers. If big brands are not appearing in Google’s search results, it is likely that competitor brands will be appearing in the space. Retailers that do not appear in Google listings are not only likely to lose these existing customers to other brands, but will also miss out on key growth opportunities for new customers.