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By: AJ Driscoll
PSMJ Resources, Inc. – April 22, 2015 Google’s new algorithm has been making headlines all across the web, with many people concerned about how it will affect their Google page rankings. The new algorithm will be rewarding sites that have mobile friendly websites and will be essentially punishing the sites that are not mobile optimized. Many companies have become worried that they will no longer rank on Google and they will lose visitors to their websites via organic search and in return lose revenue to competitors that are mobile optimized.
But before you run out and hire a new web designer and spend thousands on making your site mobile friendly, you need to look at the statistics for consumer/client behavior and in the A/E industry specifically. You must first look at who you are selling your products or services to. If you are Amazon, you know that your site appeals to everyone, since they sell nearly anything you can think of, so they must be optimized throughout every platform online to be successful over competitors. But, if you look at B2B companies like WB Mason, a company that specializes in office supplies, a majority of their sales will be done from desktop during work hours, not from an employee’s smart phone during their own time. WB Mason is a huge company that has a global rank of 42,000 on alexa.com which means they have a huge amount of web traffic come through their site, and to put that into perspective the top A/E 500 firm, AECOM, ranks 47,200 on alexa.com. That being said WB Mason does not have a mobile site because they know that for their audience it is probably not necessary, and they do not have to worry about their Google ranks being effected for the search terms such as “office supplies”.
If you still believe your A/E firm will be largely effected by the algorithm updates, you can look to your peers, competitors, and industry leaders to see if they have mobile optimized websites, because that is who you will be directly competing against on search engines.
At PSMJ we took a look at the top 20 ENR 500 firms and found that only 9 out the top 20 firm’s websites are optimized for mobile, and 7 out of those 20 were in the top 10 ENR 500 firms, and the top firm on the list AECOM, did not have a mobile optimized site.
We did another test by searching on mobile, “engineering firms in Boston” and we found that none of the top 3 results; ARUP, Rdk Engineers, and Nitsch Engineering, had sites optimized for mobile.
So before your firm shells out $100k+ on a new shiny website do some research on Google to take a look at how you rank vs your direct competitors and then against a broader spectrum of A/E firms in your local area. If it turns out your website does not rank well, then maybe optimizing your site for mobile will give you the edge your website needs to rank better on Google.
In the next 5 years however, there is a much higher chance that there will be many more sites optimized for mobile devices, since the use smartphones and tablets will increase in the overall business environment. And as this trend changes Google will continue to put more weight on if a site is optimized for mobile or not. Ignoring the trend to make your site mobile-friendly, may be a big mistake down the road, but not in 2015.
If you want more information on how to better your SEO strategy and how to better optimize your website for Google and your visitors, contact PSMJ for a website marketing consultation.

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