Mobilegeddon: Lessons Learned Two Months On
Google's algorithm update dubbed 'Mobilegeddon' was predicted to bring ruin to organisations whose sites are not mobile-optimised.
Two months on, what actually happened?
Google’s new algorithm for mobile searches was launched in late April 2015 and had many fearing the worst for their laboriously crafted SEO.
If the scaremongering headlines were true, Mobilegeddon would slash the search engine positions (SERPS) of businesses without a mobile-optimised site. Google’s own Zineb Ait Bahajji fuelled the fire by claiming the new algorithm’s impact on traffic would be yet more significant than previous updates Penguin and Panda.
Given Panda affected 12% of all English Google queries, that is a huge potential for change.
So were all the dramatic claims correct? Have Google's search results changed for the better? More importantly, does your own businesses website get the green light from Google’s improved robots? If not, what can you do to tow the line?
Even though Google gave us a polite warning of the new algorithm in February, an estimated 10% of the world’s highest traffic websites failed Google's mobile-friendly test after April 21.
Lara Doyle from TFM&A said that Wikipedia, Reddit, and the BBC were amongst those deemed not mobile friendly. Other surprising failures included easyJet, MOZ and Magento.
TechCrunch wrote that around 44% of Fortune 500 companies failed the mobile test just before the Mobilegeddon deadline.
Small businesses fared even worse.: a study by advertising provider Hibu found that fewer than 10% of SMEs had a mobile-optimised website.
The SERP results
One week after Mobilegeddon, Searchmetrics highlighted the biggest Stateside winners and losers in the mobile rankings game.
Reddit.com, NBCSports.com, and Youngmoney.com’s mobile SEO visibility declined 27%, 28% and 76% respectively.
On the flip-side, TVtropes.org, Foreignaffairs.com, and GQ.com gained mobile SEO visibility to the tune of 420%, 771% and 67% respectively.
Mobile search really matters to businesses
Over 70% of UK adults own smartphones. The unprecedented adoption of these devices is transforming the way we consume content and spend money.
Websites that avoided improving their mobile game before Mobilegeddon are likely to have seen a drop in their mobile-specific rankings. This will have the knock-on effect of a decline in traffic and ultimately in revenue.
Traffic aside, think about user experience. Responsive web design improves the viewing experience on smaller devices. Consumers react positively to ease of use and are more likely to stay on your site and make purchasing decisions. So ignoring Google, you should have done this a long time ago.
If your business uses social media as a key element of the marketing mix, it is even more vital to address the mobile audience as people using these platforms are more likely to access information on mobile devices than desktops.
How to make your website mobile friendly
First off, you should check if your website is classed by Google as being mobile-friendly? You can test your site here.
If it transpires that your site (or specific pages) don’t pass the test, here’s what you need to do:
Think user-friendly, not just pretty. A common misconception is to consider a site as mobile-optimised once the website pages scale nicely for different devices. While this is part of the process, it is the usability of your responsive website which Google is more interested in.
Accommodate fat fingers and give your buttons plenty of click space. This may also help users with poorer vision.
Bear in mind that your users may be using one hand to navigate your website. So zooming is a no-no and long scrolling can be difficult.
Make forms easy. Completing a form or entering a search be intuitive and easy on the thumb. So give generous space inside and around input areas.
If in any doubt, give us a call. Mobile fixes can be as simple as a few lines of CSS code and we can advise you of the options available.