The search engine giant (and smart, smart, smart network master) is tweaking its MOBILE search algorithm, and the result could be a disaster of Biblical proportions for all those TV station websites still clinging to the bloated design of popular CMS providers. As I’ve written a billion times, the path to downstream irrelevancy for broadcasters is clinging to old models, and these CMS templates are as old as it gets in web years. According to the AP, Google’s move will take place Tuesday and will “sway where millions of people shop, eat and find information.”
Google’s move will push every online provider to be more “mobile friendly,” and most TV station websites aren’t.
To stay in Google’s good graces, websites must be designed so they load quickly on mobile devices. Content must also be easily accessible by scrolling up and down — without having to also swipe to the left or right. It also helps if all buttons for making purchases or taking other actions on the website can be easily seen and touched on smaller screens.
If a website has been designed only with PC users in mind, the graphics take longer to load on mobile devices and the columns of text don’t all fit on the smaller screens, to the aggravation of someone trying to read it.
Google has been urging websites to cater to mobile device for years, mainly because that is where people are increasingly searching for information.
Go read the whole article via NetNewsCheck, because it’s filled with important stuff.
The essence of the problem is that local broadcasters are still competing with each other online. They’re trying to be TV stations online, because they cannot or will not look beyond their own industry to see what’s really happening in the networked world. TV stations are mass media vehicles and the “broad” in broadcasting is rightly interpreted as one-stop-shops for all entertainment and information. This is ridiculous online, but TV people keep adding content and sections to their sites. And of course when you do this, you feel obligated to provide a doorway to all that precious cargo, so deep navigation becomes an essential part of any page. Moreover, an interrupted television signal is an emergency for broadcast stations, so the same paranoia is applied to their websites, which elevates the importance of stability in their approach to content management. These are the things to which broadcasters cling, and Google is about to shove it all right up their backsides. Why? Because none of it is “mobile friendly.”
And good luck with those apps of yours, too. If Google’s spiders can’t see it, it means nothing in search.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This post is an addendum to my essay Time to Revisit Our Mobile Strategy.