As of April 21st, Google has released their mobile-friendly algorithm update which is designed to increase the rank of mobile-friendly web pages in mobile search results.
Responsive web design has always been a crucial element for an effective user experience and now sites who fail to cater to users on smaller screens will see their rankings drop significantly.
The update will see mobile websites with anything from unplayable videos, unreadable text, and slow loading pages ranked considerably lower than they previously were.
Here’s a rundown of everything you need to know about Mobilegeddon.
- Only search on mobiles are affected. Google’s search results shown to users on a tablet or desktop won’t be impacted. It’s not something to ignore though as nearly half of searches come from mobile devices.
- Google gave website owners two months to prepare for Mobilegeddon. The update will have such a significant impact on mobile search results that Google announced it in advance so web pages could be optimised. In February they launched their Mobile-Friendly Test tool so websites could check whether they’re mobile-friendly.
- There’s still time to adjust. Whilst the update officially launched yesterday, it’s expected to take a couple of weeks to roll out across the web. Even after the update has settled in though websites can still address their mobile-friendliness at any time to improve their user experience and increase their rank on mobile search results.
- Algorithm changes can sink a site. Search traffic from Google is a commodity relied on by many businesses. 33% of users tend to click on the first result in their search and 17% on the second result, whilst 92% don’t even bother going past the first page. 51.5% of ASX 200-listed companies, including Domino’s Pizza and Coca-Cola, have yet to make their sites mobile-friendly. Consequently, if web pages fail to understand the impact of Google’s algorithm updates and refuse to act on improvements, they can see their rank heavily decrease and their search traffic dip dramatically.
- It’s still possible for mobile-unfriendly sites to rank favourably. Google’s search algorithm uses various criteria to judge a website to decide how it should rank. Whilst mobile-friendliness is a strong consideration, it is just one of many. The ultimate goal is to provide the most relevant search results to the user even if a site isn’t responsive for mobile devices.
It’s clear that Mobilegeddon has started a new movement where being competitive means more than just having a mobile site. Now it means having a seperate mobile marketing strategy and understanding that users on mobiles can have entirely different wants and needs to those on desktops.