Is your site mobile-friendly? Now your SEO depends on it!

Google made very large waves recently by announcing that the mobile-friendliness of your site is going to significantly impact search results. From the Official Google Webmasters Blog:

“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

In the rest of the post, Google recommends that you use Webmaster Tools to make your site more mobile-friendly. How do you get started doing this?

First, log into Webmaster Tools and find the Mobile Usability report in your site’s settings:

Webmaster_Tools_-_Mobile_Usability_-_http___www_bostonmartialarts_com_.jpg

What you ideally want to see is this:

Webmaster_Tools_-_Mobile_Usability_-_http___www_christopherspenn_com_.jpg

What you are more likely to see is this:

Webmaster_Tools_-_Mobile_Usability_-_http___www_marketingovercoffee_com_.jpg

Above is the Marketing Over Coffee site. It’s got some problems. Let’s look at them.

The first problem is that it lacks a viewport definition. This is a simple HTML fix that can be done in your website’s theme or code. Google has simple, explicit instructions on how to fix the viewport here, but it’s literally a matter of just adding a line or two of code to your website’s design to start. You can then go and tweak it later; the bare minimum will meet their standards for usability.

The second problem is small font size. Google’s definition of small font size is body text under 16 CSS pixels (roughly 12-point fonts). Anything smaller than that is going to get flagged. Have your website designer or developer adjust your fonts accordingly. Full recommendations on fonts can be found here.

The third problem is touch elements are too close. Google defines this as any significant touchable element (buttons, etc.) on site that are less than 48 CSS pixels wide and there should be a border of at least 32 CSS pixels between touchable elements on page. This is less easy to fix and will, for most people, require your designer’s help to get right. (if you need a great design team, we have one at my employer, SHIFT Communications) If in doubt, make buttons big and leave lots of space around them. Here are the rest of the touch elements guidelines.

The last problem is Flash. Google has said for a while Flash is bad. It looks like, from an SEO perspective, you’ll be penalized for its usage. Remove it and replace it with HTML5 options instead. Got video on site? Switch out your proprietary Flash player with something from Vimeo or YouTube. Got audio on site? Switch out from Flash to Soundcloud’s HTML5 player.

If you want your site to rank well, follow Google’s guidelines. Ignore them at your organic search traffic’s peril. You have until April 21, 2015 to make your decision!


If you enjoyed this, please share it with your network!


Want to read more like this from ? Get daily updates now:


Marketing Blue Belt Preorder

Subscribe to my free newsletter!


Should you repost your social media content all the time?

Why repost the same content on social media?

Why do you see popular brands and influencers recycling their material in the span of hours?

It’s not because they’ve run out of content. It’s because of churn.

define_churn_-_Google_Search.jpg

In social media (and digital marketing), we churn two things most: attention and audience.

Attention churn is the amount of attention any of our content gets. Take a look at this chart below of one of my more popular tweets:

MAP_-_cspenn_OR__christopher_s__p___.jpg

This tweet reached half of its lifetime audience in 65 minutes, and reached 80% of its lifetime audience in slightly more than 10 hours. If this content were an important selling piece for me, I wouldn’t even get a day’s use out of it. That’s attention churn, the speed at which your audience moves onto new things.

Audience churn is the constant change in the makeup of your audience. Every day, you lose audience members. Every day, you gain audience members. Below is an example from Facebook of Net Likes, which are the Likes you get minus the people who Unlike your page:

Christopher_S__Penn.jpg

Even in your web analytics, you’ll see this. Below is the ratio of new users to returning users for just visitors to my website from social channels in a 30 day period:

New_vs_Returning_-_Google_Analytics.jpg

This proclaims that 2/3 of my audience which comes from social media hasn’t seen my website before. That’s a staggering number, especially if your business relies on repeat customers.

What does this mean for us?

We can’t count on our audiences having seen things that are old hat to us. We can’t count on them knowing what they should and shouldn’t do once they become a part of our community. This is the epitome of the curse of knowledge. We see what we share every day. A new audience member has seen almost nothing. What’s boring to us is fresh to them.

If your analytics look anything like mine, take three basic tactical steps to ensure your audience is always being welcomed and is always seeing the important stuff.

Ensure your properties all have welcome messages of some kind. You could put something as simple as a link in your profile, or share a daily welcome message. My daily welcome message makes up almost 5% of my campaign-based website traffic:

Campaigns_-_Google_Analytics.jpg

Make clear your top calls to action in your website design. New audience members should have no ambiguity about what you want them to do:

Christopher_S__Penn_Blog_-_Awaken_Your_Superhero.jpg

Consider reposting your best content on a regular basis so that different parts of your audience see it. I’m about to embark on a new organic social campaign that will share links to my latest book on a very regular basis over 30 days, to see what happens. There are plenty of software platforms and companies that will offer to do content reposting for you (for a fee, of course). You can also just do it manually, by sharing the same content at different times of day.

Audiences and attention are churning all the time. Who you talk to today can differ significantly from who you talked to yesterday. Don’t assume that everyone has seen everything you have to offer!


If you enjoyed this, please share it with your network!


Want to read more like this from ? Get daily updates now:


Marketing Blue Belt Preorder

Subscribe to my free newsletter!


3 Core Abilities All New Marketers Need

C_C__Chapman___cc_chapman__•_Instagram_photos_and_videos.jpg

I recently had the pleasure and honor of guest lecturing at Bentley University’s e-Marketing course with CC Chapman. One of the questions in the Q&A was, “What are the core skills new graduates need that you look for when hiring?” What a terrific question!

The top 3 core skills all new marketers need are the ability to write, the ability to do deep analysis and extract insights, and the ability to be creative.

The Ability to Write

Writing is at the heart of modern marketing. Everything begins with writing, from sticky notes on your desk to 90,000 word books to screenplays for YouTube videos. Even great speaking leverages your ability to skillfully choose words. The problem is, most people aren’t great writers. Most people are average or slightly below average writers who can’t communicate with clarity. Download the eBooks or white papers from your company and from your competitors. Read through them. How well written are they? How persuasive are they?

I recommended that every student – and every marketing professional – become familiar with tools like SlickWrite and Hemingway. While these tools cannot fix problems with structure, logical flow, or facts, they can identify basic flaws in writing. See this post on up-cycling content for a bit more on these tools.

The Ability to Do Deep Analysis

Statistics and mathematics are core skills for today’s marketer. You must have the ability to take data, visualize it, analyze it, and turn it into insights and strategies. Many students take courses with tools like SPSS and R; when they leave university life, those skills quickly atrophy. Don’t permit that to happen. Download data sets from public sources like data.gov to keep your data analysis skills strong. Practice, improve, and expand your data analysis toolkit.

If you’re a marketer facing data analysis challenges, I also recommend my latest book, Marketing Blue Belt.

The Ability to Be Creative

Creativity is one skill area that gets systematically beaten out of you by school and work. The ability to be creative hinges on your inputs, on how much useful stuff is in your brain that you can draw on at any given time. If all you’ve got in your head is junk, then all you’ll produce is junk. Feed your brain, especially after leaving an academic environment!

The more useful, usable information your mind has to work with, the more creative you can be. (this is also the basis for my previous book, Marketing Red Belt).

Write. Create. Analyze. If you can do all three of these skills well, you will be a unicorn. You’ll be a rare, valued, even treasured member of any team. There are other secondary skills that will help improve your career success as well, but if you can’t write, create, and analyze, fix that first.

Thanks again to CC and Bentley University for having me over!


If you enjoyed this, please share it with your network!


Want to read more like this from ? Get daily updates now:


Marketing Blue Belt Preorder

Subscribe to my free newsletter!