Repent or suffer the flaming pits of second page search results! Or, adapt and update your website’s mobile presence… Because, all apocalyptic rhetoric aside, this is a good thing.
A few weeks ago Google® released some major changes to its search algorhythm, specifically concerning mobile friendly websites. Now that the dust has settled, how does the new landscape look? Just how major were these changes? Depends on whom you ask.
The update earned its “-geddon” suffix primarily because it was estimated it would affect more websites than Panda or Penguin did. In the weeks following its release, it had a significant impact, but whether it rises to such lofty cataclysms is still up for debate.1 If your website was already mobile-friendly, there’s a 30 percent chance your search engine results page (SERP) ranking improved. BUT, if your site is non-mobile friendly, there is a whopping 46.6 percent chance you lost ground.2
(It’s worth noting, this update affected mobile searches only. Desktop searches weren’t affected at all. That’s a small comfort, though, as mobile search continues to outpace desktop searches).
So was your site affected? Well if your traffic has suddenly plummeted (or skyrocketed), then you might be on to something. But don’t take my word for it — test your site to see if it passes. If it needs work, the good news is that it’s not too late to fix. Google has provided a Mobile SEO Guide to help facilitate conversion. Take advantage of Google’s help. It’s pretty rare Google gives developers and designers notice of algorhythm changes, let alone guidance on how to best navigate the changing tides.
Why does Google bother providing help at all? Because, search is something done primarily on mobile devices and sending users to non-mobile friendly websites that explode in a menagerie of overlapping tables and frames or shrink to infinitesimal sizes requiring enough pinching and dragging to give you finger cramps is exactly the poor experience that can make a user start thinking about giving Bing another look. So, Google did what it does best and changed the rules to provide users with more websites that work on mobile devices.
Some marketers have labeled this “Mobilegeddon,” which is fun to say but only relevant if you’re the owner of one of the unprepared sites that was swept downpage in its wake. It might be more accurate, however, to term it the “Mobile-revolution”, which is decidedly less fun to say, but conveys the populist, consumer-centric nature of the change. Websites that resisted becoming mobile-friendly before (maybe they thought it was just a fad? Surely rotary phones are due for a comeback) are now having their hands forced. Make your site viewable on mobile devices, or it’s going to be buried pages back in search results amongst abandoned MySpace profiles and the ghosts of internet cafes that went out of business in 1998. The revolution is here, and it’s on a fingerprint covered 4” screen.