Google's Mobilegeddon Hurts Law Firms
Lawyer.com found 46% of solo firms failed Google's requirements after running each respective site through Google's own mobile-friendly test platform.
Basking Ridge, NJ, April 24, 2015 (Newswire.com) - Lawyer.com reviewed mobile readiness across its database of over 100,000 U.S. law firm websites. Using Google’s mobile friendly test suite on the April 21 switch date, Lawyer.com found 46% of small firm websites and 39% of all firm websites failed. Industry leaders including Latham & Watkins and Skadden Arps also failed the tests.
Google’s massive algorithm update, which may be Google’s most significant to date, requires a mobile responsive design for preferred access to mobile visitors. Sites failing Google’s tests will receive significantly less mobile visitors, now the bulk of U.S Internet traffic.
Lawyer.com’s survey highlights the risks for firms of all sizes that have not kept up with Google’s search practices and mobile-friendly design requirements. Mobile web traffic surpassed PC traffic for the first time in 2014 and the number of Internet-ready mobile devices now exceeds 7 billion; more than one per person on the planet.
Google indicates that 72% of mobile users want sites to be mobile-friendly when visiting from their mobile device. Furthermore, 61% of users said they are likely to leave if the site is not mobile-friendly.
Lawyer.com found 46% of solo firms failed Google’s requirements after running each respective site through Google’s own mobile-friendly test platform. Other larger firms fared better than their solo counterparts with a 33% failure rate.
Websites for Texas-based law firms passed Google’s tests 68% of the time compared to only 65% for California-based law firms and 61% for both New York and Florida-based firms. Male owned solo firms passed slightly more often than female owned solo firms with rates of 60% and 58%, respectively. Websites of solo lawyers 50 years or older had a 54% pass rate while sites of younger solo lawyers reached 55%. Personal Injury law firms had the highest pass rate of all major practice areas (67%), while Real Estate firms had a low pass rate at only 57%. Patent law firms, which often have tech savvy partners, surprisingly had a low pass rate of just 44%.
Home pages of three of the top-five grossing law firms in the U.S. failed Google’s mobile-friendly test; Latham & Watkins, Skadden Arps, and Clifford Chance all have websites that can expect organic search traffic declines until adding responsive design elements. Google has indicated that drops in traffic will not be reflected immediately and may take over a week for indexing to occur.
“Making the necessary adjustments is extremely important for business websites in any industry,” said Gerald Gorman, CEO of Lawyer.com. “It is especially important in the legal services industry as most users now start their Lawyer search on Google using a mobile phone or tablet.”
What is Responsive Design?
Responsive design is an adaptive approach to webpage creation that aims to provide the best viewing experience on any device. Though screen sizes from desktop monitors to smartphones vary widely, a page or site that has utilized responsive design techniques will effectively present all of its information to visitors. Responsive design properties include relative fonts, margins, and window sizes as well as flexible images and touch sized links and buttons.