I read the news today, oh boy.
No doubt, many of you have already read the headline from TechCrunch. Or maybe you caught it coming down off the mountain from Google. Google is formalizing its stance on “mobile-friendliness” as a ranking signal worldwide. Not only that, but they’re boosting content from indexed apps in organic search results.
Commence the obligatory avalanche of one-star apps. Sweet!
On the one hand I couldn’t be happier. In my time at Portent, I’ve had the pleasure of working on digital marketing and strategy with some amazing companies that are flat out crushing it with their native apps. And they have been for years.
For this, Google, we tip the cap and say, “Welcome to the party, pal.”
For businesses that have been paying any attention to user experience in the last few years, offering the right extension of their storefront or their brand within mobile has likely come up in every, single, last marketing strategy meeting.
Shel Israel and Robert Scoble wrote a great book last year titled Age of Context, talking about the critical importance of meeting users right where they are. With exactly what they want. Presented in the medium or technology best suited to the task. Tom Webster took an in-depth look at what that same kind of UX-first mindset could or should look like for mobile commerce.
The big thing I’m pulling from both in this moment is that it’s about utility, and tailored user experience. As digital marketers, it’s about adapting our message, our content, and ultimately our product offering for the user, based on where she is at that second.
It’s about being anticipatory, and helpful to her. What is she trying to do that’s different, when she’s not sitting at a desk? How can we make that task easier, or more productive with the right bits of our content or specific tools?
Apps, dynamically personalized sites, and all the rest, are supposed to be about helping users take a shortcut to the perfect parts of your content, tied up with a bow. And having every subsequent step make perfect, contextual sense.
If making that happen lends itself to repackaging and rearranging your content in an app, outstanding. Code away. If however, you’re twisting a suspiciously evil-looking moustache and thinking that is going to take your competitors a while to catch up and manipulate this … <Deep Sigh>
This is not about crushing the search results page. At least it shouldn’t be. But it probably will. At least for a little while.
I feel like I should end with my best Seth Godin impression: For the guys that have been showing up and putting in the work, day-in and day-out for years, this is great news. For the guys that see this as a shortcut to profit, through organic visibility they didn’t earn the right way (thanks Ian), this’ll be a short ride.
Postscript: There’s a lot more to say here. What do you think about the potential for Google to actually do some good with this move?