The 2nd Phase of Google’s “Mobilegeddon” Has Been Officially Released

A recent study by Opinion Lab, highlights the following impact of consumers using their mobile devices to search for businesses and make purchases:

  • Mobile impacted $1 trillion in retail sales in 2015.
  • In the US, more than 30% of sales will have a mobile cross-channel component.
  • 50% of consumers who conduct a local search on their smartphone visit a brick-and-mortar location within a day
  • 82% of shoppers say they consult their phones on purchases they’re about to make when in a brick-and-mortar location

Google’s response

In the quest to make the web more mobile-friendly, Google rolled out their second algorithm update on May 2, 2016. This update is designed to benefit mobile-friendly websites in Google search results. The results increase the effect of the ranking signal to help users find even more pages that are relevant and mobile-friendly.

According to Google, a website is mobile-friendly if it meets the following conditions:

  • Does not use software that is unusual for smartphones, such as Flash.
  • Text is readable without zooming.
  • Content fits on the screen completely, without the need for the visitor to scroll horizontally.
  • Buttons and links are far enough apart, so that a finger can easily click the correct one.

Testing a Website for Mobile Friendliness

If you are unsure if your website is mobile-friendly or not, then you should use an official Mobile-Friendly testing tool such as the following:

The testing tools also have suggestions for next steps based on the results of the mobile friendliness test.

Questions Regarding Google’s “Mobile Friendly” Algorithm Changes

If you are like every other business owner or website administrator, then you have questions. On April 21, 2016, previous to Google’s 2nd algorithm rollout, Google published a post, FAQs about April 21st mobile friendly updateThis article answers the top 13 questions site administrators, SEO’s and business owners have about the latest mobile-friendly algorithm update.

We selected a few of the questions and answers from the April 21st post:

Will desktop and/or tablet ranking also be affected by this change?  No, this update has no effect on searches from tablets or desktops. It affects searches from mobile devices across all languages and locations.

Is it a page-level or site-level mobile ranking boost? It’s a page-level change. For instance, if ten of your site’s pages are mobile-friendly, but the rest of your pages aren’t, only the ten mobile-friendly pages can be positively impacted.

Will my site / page disappear on mobile search results if it’s not mobile-friendly? While the mobile-friendly change is important, we still use a variety of signals to rank search results. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal — so even if a page with high quality content is not mobile-friendly, it could still rank high if it has great content for the query.

If your website is not mobile-friendly, the number of visitors coming in from Google will only keep decreasing. This was the case after the first phase of Mobilegeddon, and will only become more evident following their latest algorithm update.

Interested in learning more about mobile trends? Read more from our blog, View from the Charles:
Mobile Search Updates: Why You Need a Mobile Website
5 Tips for Writing for Mobile

Want more information? Get more details on Charles River Interactive’s SEO and PPC service offerings or contact us today.

SEO tactics that work for Pharmaceutical Companies

The Pharmaceutical Industry is one of the most heavily regulated industries in the US. As it involves the topic of human health, it’s not surprising that any marketing activity to promote pharmaceutical products is highly scrutinized. Ensuring that your messaging doesn’t involve any false claims or miscommunicate product information is absolutely critical. This represents a big challenge for marketers. When it comes to SEO, where content really is king, this extra layer of restrictions can become a major obstacle in making a program successful.

With restrictions in mind, SEO can bring a lot of value to the pharmaceutical sites and shouldn’t be ignored. Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re working on a pharmaceutical product.

Multiple domains

In pharmaceutical marketing, healthcare providers and patient audience are typically targeted separately. Which means that you would have to deal with two separate websites, targeting patients and healthcare providers (HCPs). If you’re lucky, they may live on one domain (i.e. and, which would be more beneficial for your domain authority. However, in most cases, these properties are hosted on completely separate domains with specific HCP or patient content.

In addition to the patient and HCP domains, many pharma brands also opt to have a separate more flexible, unbranded domain to drive awareness about a certain disease. Because this property is unbranded, there is a lot more flexibility to change or update its content. Therefore, a typical SEO program for one pharma product involves at least two to three sites.

Approval process

Keep in mind that any recommendations to update front-end website copy will have to go through legal approval process. This includes all on-page elements, such as title tags, meta descriptions, etc. Therefore, the updates will not happen overnight. In order to speed up the process, make sure that you learn as much as possible about the product and get the legal guidance from your client. In the meantime, you can work on making sure that the site is search-friendly on back-end, as technical recommendations are typically easy to push through as they don’t require legal approval.

Authoritative competition

If you perform a disease-related search query, you will rarely see a pharmaceutical brand ranking in the first three results. The top unbranded positions in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) are typically dominated by highly authoritative informational websites, such as WebMD or MayoClinic. This doesn’t mean that you can’t rank on the first page, however, ranking in the first three positions would be extremely challenging.

Google SERP updates

Last year, Google started updating how medical search results are displayed. For example, its Knowledge Graph panel now includes rich content on health conditions, even with downloadable PDFs. There are also “answer boxes” that show up on the first page of search results, directly pulling information from the websites. For example, you will see this “answer box” if you search for “knee pain”.

As users want to get information they’re looking for with the least amount of clicks, these updates are very helpful to them. At the same time, healthcare websites are seeing dips in their organic traffic as a result.

Pharmaceutical Digital Ad Spend

With all these challenges in mind, SEO and digital marketing in general represent a big opportunity for pharmaceutical companies. Recent eMarketer data shows that the digital ad spending keeps growing exponentially and is projected to grow.

As marketers, we understand the challenges and can customize smart SEO strategies that drive highly relevant traffic to Pharmaceutical sites.

Interested in learning more about SEO? Read more from our blog, View from the Charles:

How Does the New Google Ad Layout Impact SEO?

Google SERP News: Right Rail Ads are Gone

Want more information? Get more details on Charles River Interactive’s SEO and PPC service offerings or contact us today.

How to Write Strategic Calls to Action

You already know that hyperlinks and call-to-action links are an important part of the content strategy formula. But it’s not enough to simply insert as many as you can, with the hopes of scoring SEO points and potentially overwhelming people reading your content. A linking strategy should define where you place them, which words you hyperlink and which pages you link to.

Why are Hyperlinks Important?

Let’s pretend you’re not a marketing manager, but the owner of a small shop that relies on street traffic. Your first priority is getting shoppers in the door. (You could compare your window display and signage to the type of SEO work we do to attract organic traffic to your site.)

Once inside, you want them to explore past the first rack, to browse your shelves, examine items of interest and even step into a dressing room. Your ultimate goal – your call to action – is for them to make a purchase.

In this hypothetical store, the details matter: how you arrange your shelves, where top-selling merchandise goes and where you post eye-catching ‘clearance’ signs.

Web content works the same way. Strategic linking assures users don’t stop at the front door (your homepage). Instead, they click further into your site, visiting multiple pages to browse, and interacting with your content (sign up for newsletters, request an appointment, follow you on social media, etc.)

One of the key ways we can facilitate this user journey is how we utilize hyperlinks.

Hyperlink vs. Call to Action Link

There are two ways to include links in your content. Both have a place, but there are key differences:

  • A hyperlink is more passive: Waltham-based Charles River Interactive is a full-service digital marketing firm.
  • The call to action link – or CTA – invites the user to take action and keep reading: Waltham-based CRI is a full-service digital marketing firm. Learn more about Charles River Interactive.

Which strategy do you think would get more clicks?

With a passive hyperlink, the link to the company website is there as a ‘soft sell,’ much like the end cap in your store. If this sentence appeared in the content at a place where you definitely want interested users to visit this page, you want to use a call to action link instead.

Web Writing Best Practices for Hyperlinks

  • Formatting: It may sound like common sense, but make sure your links appear with unique formatting: a different color is typical, but you may also bold or underline linked text.
  • Internal vs. external links: Use links that take users away from your site as little as possible. Why send away your traffic? If it’s necessary, make sure these links open in a new tab.
  • Never, ever say ‘click here’: Make it your golden rule. Yes, the goal of a call to action link is to encourage the user to take action. But think about it as being helpful, not demanding. Phrases like ‘Read more about …’ or ‘Learn more about …” let the user feel like they have more control, and as a result, they are more effective.
  • Anticipate action: Web users hate surprises – especially when pages and files pop open unexpectedly. Don’t risk visitors closing out your site. Just be courteous and help them understand what happens if they click a link: ‘Download our information packet’ or ‘Watch our how-to video’ tells the user that a file will open and a video clip is about to play.
  • Match pages with links: The hyperlinked text should match the page title – or H1 – of the page to which you are linking. Don’t just link random text and expect users to know where it goes; they are unlikely to take that leap of faith, and may be confused when they arrive there.
  • Put a CTA on every page: Don’t get stuck with a ‘dead-end page’ that leaves users with nowhere to go. Every single page on your site should include a call to action link, and be rich with hyperlinks. This even includes your 404 redirect page. Remember: When you stop giving users something to do, they stop interacting with your site.

Interested in learning more about content development? Read more from our blog, View from the Charles:

5 Tips for Writing for Mobile
10 Tips for Effective Content Marketing on Twitter