How Focused are SEOs on Getting Clients to be Mobile-Friendly?

How Focused are SEOs on Getting Clients to be Mobile-Friendly?
Key Takeaways

From April 21st, Google will be using ‘mobile friendly’ signals as a ranking factor in mobile SERPs. Making the announcement early has given everyone at least some opportunity to prepare, but are SEOs doing just that?

In a poll we ran last week, we wanted to find out how the upcoming update is affecting SEO agencies & consultants, and whether achieving ‘mobile-friendliness’ has taken on extra priority for themselves & their clients.

We asked our visitors one simple question:

Are you focusing on getting client’s sites to be mobile-friendly?

We compiled results from 414 BrightLocal users over the last week. All individual responses are anonymous, but our typical users are SEO agencies and consultants who provide local search services. Of the responses 68% came from the US, 13% from the UK, 7% from Canada, 3% from Australia, and 8% from the rest of the world.

Are SEOs focused on getting clients mobile-friendly?

Mobile-friendly client site

Key Findings

  • 19% say that it is their number 1 priority
  • 41% say that they’re focusing a lot on this
  • 18% say that it is up to the client to do this

Overall, 60% of respondents are extremely focused on getting their client’s sites to be mobile friendly. It is either their number 1 priority or they are focusing a lot on it. With just 2 weeks to go, this is becoming increasingly important and it’s clear that the majority of local search professionals recognise the fact, and are responding to it.

Mobilegeddon is nigh

In a recent Search Engine Land post, Neil Patel pointed out that Google themselves refer to the algorithm change as ‘significant’, and believes that non-optimized pages will virtually drop from mobile rankings (and possibly desktop rankings too).

18% of respondents said that the level of priority depended on the client. Some types of businesses are obviously better suited to mobile search than others (retail, plumbers, etc.), and this may determine the urgency of the task prior to ‘mobilegeddon’.

Of course it also depends on how willing the client is to make significant changes at short notice. However, bearing in mind that Google expects overall search queries on mobile devices to exceed PC volumes this year, it should be a priority project for all.

Getting Mobile-Friendly

Just 15% say that their clients are already mobile friendly. It’s likely that any business that has made significant updates to their website in the past couple of years will have already introduced a mobile responsive design. Having a higher chance of appearing mobile-friendly to Google; this group are likely to welcome the upcoming algo change.

Last year we researched the mobile-readiness of small & medium sized businesses in the SMB Internet Marketing Survey 2014. We found that 66% of SMBs did have a mobile optimized site (vs. 59% in 2013), whilst 19% did not (vs. 26% in 2013).

This stat doesn’t relate to the mobile-friendly test that Google has since introduced, and there is no guarantee that all of that 66% would pass, but the year on year progress does show the rate at which business are recognizing the importance of mobile.

Only 2% of respondents said that adapting to the upcoming mobile algorithm change was purely down to the client. This very low figure suggests the majority of SEOs recognize not only their responsibility to lead their clients in the right direction, but also that without adapting to this change, their ability to continue to deliver positive results will be hampered.

Are you clients mobile friendly? take the mobile-friendly test.

Ross Marchant
About the author
Ross is the former Marketing Manager for BrightLocal. With 9+ years SEO and content experience, Ross spearheaded the marketing and CRM initiatives which focus heavily on creating useful and informative content. Ross coordinated the research program at BrightLocal which delivers unique insights into both the SEO industry and local consumer behaviours.