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Major companies failing to optimise mobile sites, according to study

In May, Google’s webspam guru, Matt Cutts, spoke in Seattle at the SMX Advanced Conference. In his time on stage, he told the audience about the importance of mobile SEO. He advised those in the crowd to start thinking more about mobile, as this is the way he expects Google to move in the near future.

Cutts went even further recently, publishing a new post on the company’s Webmaster Central Blog, which confirmed some upcoming changes. In it, he said:

“We plan to roll out several ranking changes in the near future that address sites that are misconfigured for smartphone users.”

Perhaps to provide a warning to smaller businesses, mobile expert Pure Oxygen Labs carried out a study based on the smartphone-compatibility of the sites of some of the world’s biggest companies. The researchers found that only 6% of the top 100 ranked Fortune 500 firms have sites that currently adhere to the newly proposed Google rules. The data also suggested that around 60% of the sites considered were at risk of being downgraded by Google because they don’t offer mobile-specific variations of indexed pages.

According to the report, of the 100 sites studied, only 11 actively target mobile users with responsive design, 56% provide mobile-formatted content for searchers and less than half (45%) have a dedicated mobile site. Currently, none of the mobile sites adhere to Google’s mobile configuration criteria.

With such a lack of effort on the mobile SEO front, the Google rankings for many of these companies are likely to be negatively impacted when the changes come into force later in the year. The results of the study may, however, be good news for smaller businesses – many of which will look to capitalise on the opportunity to get ahead of their multinational competitors.

Graeme has experience creating content for online sources and for the radio, and at university he studied Multimedia Journalism.

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