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Tom Desmond CEO

Mobile-Friendly Law Firm Websites

It’s been all over the Internet. Google’s update in April 2015 penalized websites that are not properly formatted for viewing on a smartphone or tablet.

This is not a case of Google being picky. According to a comScore report, “mobile platforms – smartphones and tablets – combined to account for 60% of total digital media time spent.” That means that more than half of the people viewing your website are doing so with a mobile device.

With this update, Google is ensuring that websites listed in its index are user-friendly, no matter how they are being viewed. Unfortunately, law firms have been slow to adapt. It is estimated that over half of all law firm websites are not mobile-friendly.

A mobile-friendly website is one that looks a little different on a mobile device than it does on a desktop computer. One can either have a completely separate website that is only displayed to visitors using a mobile device or a single responsive website that adjusts depending on the device being used.

How to Check if Your Website is Mobile-Friendly

Mobile Friendly Law Firm WebsitesTo find out if your website is mobile-friendly, enter your website’s address into the Google Mobile-Friendly Tool. In less than a minute, you will know if your law firm’s website is mobile-friendly or not.

If the number of people visiting your website has declined due to this update, the good news is Google will love you again as soon as you bring it up to speed.

The ApricotLaw team can either build you a new website or make your existing website mobile-friendly.

If you’re tired of your current website, we’ll design a new state of the art website for you that is also mobile-friendly. If you like your current website and would just like it to look better on a mobile device (and comply with Google’s rules), we can reprogram it to “respond” depending on which device is being used to view it.

Mobilegeddon: Google’s Latest Way of Vetting Attorneys’ Websites

If you’re not scrambling to undo the damage that Mobilegeddon did to your law firm’s website, it means one of two things: you were prepared or you don’t know what you missed.

Mobilegeddon, Google’s latest algorithm update, took aim at websites that aren’t responsive or mobile-friendly.

Why would they do something so horrible?

Because 63 percent of people use mobile devices to find local businesses, and mobile searchers just aren’t happy when pages aren’t compatible with their screen. It turns out that, across the board, up to 80 percent of mobile searches end in a conversion, so Google decided to do what they do best: make sure searchers are happy with their experiences.

By 2016, there will be more than 2 billion smartphone users. By 2018, more than one-third of consumers in the world will be using them.

The question isn’t “Why.” It’s “How could they not unleash Mobilegeddon?”

The Technical Side: What Makes Mobilegeddon Tick

Google didn’t name the algorithm update, which they’ve been warning everyone about since February 26, but Mobilegeddon is a perfect fit.

What the update did was make search results more useful. Sites that aren’t optimized for mobile devices (such as those that have tiny text, links and poorly formatted content that doesn’t quite fit on a phone, tablet or other mobile device) noticed a big change in their rankings beginning on April 21.

Some SEOs, designers and other industry pros warned that it would crush small businesses, but those that had implemented Google’s advice early on—as far back as 2012, in some cases—never had a thing to worry about.

As part of the update, Google may even have unleashed a new crawler that’s building a new, mobile-only index. It makes sense, particularly considering that the search giant’s rep, Zineb Ait Bahajji, told guests at SMX Munich that Mobilegeddon would be bigger than Panda and Penguin – the company’s two most notorious algorithm updates. She also said that Mobilegeddon wouldn’t affect anyone’s desktop rankings.

Law Firms Big and Small Are Feeling the Pinch

Many law firms never added mobile subdomains to their sites or switched to responsive design because frankly, it’s not always cheap to improve or revamp a website. Mobilegeddon didn’t just wreak havoc on small firms, though. Up to 40 percent of Fortune 500 websites fell prey to it, including Fannie Mae, Berkshire Hathaway and UnitedHealth Group, according to TechCrunch.

Statistics show that more than 50 percent of the 350 largest law firms in the country don’t have mobile-friendly websites, and nearly three-quarters of the blogs published by the Am Law 200 don’t either.

Here’s the biggest problem with that: you have to keep up with the pack or you’re going to be trampled. IBM Digital Analytics says that in 2014, 46.5 percent of all online traffic originated on mobile devices. A recent report by comScore has that number at around 60 percent of all traffic.

The top spot on a Google search results page gets between 20 and 30 percent of all the clicks. Links below the third position on the first page get less than 1 percent of the clicks, so Mobilegeddon has a huge impact on the future of your business. If your competitors are on top of their game and you’re not, they’re going to get the bulk of the business coming in.

You can check whether your site is mobile-friendly by using Google’s official Mobile-Friendly Test. Just enter your URL and the crawler will let you know if you’re sporting a mobile-friendly design.

What Your Law Firm Needs to be Mobile-Friendly

While Google never dishes on the secret recipes that make their algorithms work, they don’t mince words about what they want your site to look like. In order for your law firm’s website to be considered mobile-friendly, it needs to:

  • Use readable text that doesn’t require users to zoom in
  • Allow for easy link-clicking
  • Automatically size content to match the viewing screen
  • Avoid software that mobile devices can’t readily recognize (such as Flash)

Google controls about two-thirds of U.S. searches, and Yahoo and Bing are constantly evolving to keep up with America’s favorite search engine. That means having a non-mobile-friendly site isn’t just affecting people who rely on Google; it’ll eventually get you no matter where your traffic comes from.

Great – You Missed the Boat on Mobilegeddon. Now What?

The good news is Google will love you again as soon as you upgrade your site to be mobile compliant. More good news: making your site mobile-friendly usually does not require a major website redesign.

Call ApricotLaw at 212-960-8584 to speak with one of the company’s founders about mobile-friendly legal website design. We can help ensure that you’re back on top when it comes to mobile search – and that you’re right in front of the potential clients your law firm is trying to reach.

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