What could Google’s next update mean for life science marketers?

20 March 2015| by Paul Avery

What’s pretty much the first thing most of us do when we have a question these days? Personally, I tend to go straight to Google. Whether I’m troubleshooting a problem (is it OK to reheat chicken kievs?), searching for a product (I need a new mouse) or catching up on the latest news, I’ll turn to Google. This is true whether I’m sat at my laptop or out and about – my trusty smartphone is always in my pocket, connecting me the largest information resource that’s ever existed at the touch of a button.


Mobile marketing to scientists

This behaviour is only going to be more important for marketers, including those in the life science industry. While researchers may be less likely to use their smartphones while sat at the bench (who wants to risk getting it covered in ethidium bromide?!), I still expect to see more and more scientists using their phone to answer practical research questions (e.g. what’s the best buffer to use with enzyme X?). This behaviour would be in line with recent trends around smartphone usage – in case you’re interested, here are a few key stats from the ExactTarget 2014 Mobile Behaviour Report:

  • 85% of consumers said mobile devices are a central part of everyday life, and 90% of those aged 1824 agreed
  • 54% of consumers believe that it is easier to find information on mobile-optimised sites
  • 37% of consumers are more likely to purchase on a mobile-optimised site
  • 27% of consumers will leave a site if it is not mobile-optimised.

BioSmobileoptimisedImage: Adapted from

Why mobile is more important than ever – the upcoming Google update

If your customers are using their phones to learn about products and solutions, then your site needs to be optimised for mobile. This is not new information, and I think most life science marketers are already aware of this.

However, what you might not have seen is a little nugget of new information shared this week by Zineb Ait Bahajji from the Google Webmaster Trends team, who was quoted as saying that the company’s updated mobile-friendly ranking algorithm (which will launch on April 21st) will have more of an impact on Google’s search results than both the previous Google Panda and Penguin updates.

According to Barry Schwartz over at Search Engine Land, this could be significant: “The big takeaway from this is that if your site is not mobile-friendly, get to work now on it. If 50% of your traffic from Google comes from mobile devices, it sounds like if you are not mobile-friendly that virtually all of that traffic from mobile is at huge risk.”


What should you do?

According to your analytics, how much of your traffic comes from tablets and smartphones? If it’s a sizeable amount and your website doesn’t currently have a mobile-friendly design (e.g. responsive design), then now might be the time to carry out that website redesign project you’ve been considering.

Wondering if Google considers your current website to be mobile friendly? Then use Google’s mobile friendly testing tool to find out.