'Mobilegeddon' - Google’s mobile-friendly update

'Mobilegeddon' - Google’s mobile-friendly update
Google is driving mobile-first best practices across the industry by prioritising results of mobile-friendly sites for users accessing the search engine from a mobile device.

The mobile-friendly update, dubbed 'Mobilegeddon', was announced by Google back in February and came into effect on 21st April.

As with all Google updates, it has been a hot topic with plenty of speculation surround the significance of the update given Google's normal practice of rolling-out updates unannounced.

The update was intended to affect mobile rankings only and two month's down the line, how has the update impacted web owners with an online customer base?

  • Non mobile-friendly websites lost search traffic
    For certain search queries, non-mobile friendly sites rank lower in mobile search than they do in desktop search. Demotion in mobile ranking varies considerably depending on the mobile-friendliness aspect of the site in question and to some extent whether other sites that previously ranked higher were worse hit. Reported figures vary hugely across various studies but the impact appears to be more significant on page 2-3 results than it does on page 1 results.
     
  • Desktop rankings remain pretty much unaffected
    Many sites have reported significant drops in mobile ranking with desktop ranking remaining relatively unaffected and in some cases even marginally increasing. Others have reported decreases in desktop rankings and recovering after some a short period of time – presumably as the algorithm update stabilised. All in all, it's as expected and in line with Google's announcement of the update targeting mobile results only.
     
  • Mobile and desktop rankings are not converging
    Search results and queries are diverging - not converging. Search engines have been optimising results for desktop and mobiles and even though mobile devices can access the same content as desktops, the result is an ever increasing disparity in results across these devices. It's clear that Google's mobile-friendly update has just widened the gap which some analysts have reported as climbing from the mid 60% range to well over 70% post Mobilegeddon.
     
  • Not optimised for multiple screens?
    In May, Google confirmed they see more mobile searches than desktop via an Inside Adwords blog post which gives them plenty of incentive to continue optimising for mobile and continue to provide better experiences for their users. Similar to the Panda and Pigeon updates, Google will continue to tweak their mobile-friendly algorithms over time.

Steps you can take

If you have been affected by the algorithm updates, a good starting point is to check your site in Google's Mobile-Friendly site test which suggests a number of actions you can take such as increasing link spacing, reducing image sizes and removal of pop-ups.

However, these actions could be little more than quick-fixes, effective only until the next wave of updates. Investing in a CMS driven, fully responsive site that scales across multiple devices and platforms may ultimately be the best strategy – without which it's simply no longer possible to remain competitive in the current SEO landscape.

Get in touch

If you'd like to learn more about mobile-first and responsive best-practices, then give us a call or pop-in and see us in our studio.

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