Mobile search worldwide is about to change thanks to Google’s latest update, the aptly name “Mobilegeddon” which is set to rock the search industry on April 21st. News of this update was initially published by Google on their official blog in February.
Mobile usability has been a search engine ranking factor for some time, and Mobilegeddon looks set to push that even further than previous (more cutely named) algorithm updates, Penguin and Panda according to Zineb Ait Bahajji from Google’s webmaster team. Zineb was a keynote speaker at one of the leading search industry conferences SMX Munich in March, where she highlighted these points.
With the date of the update looming in April, and with Zineb’s comments considered, it is reasonable to predict that Mobilegeddon will have a significant impact on websites which are not mobile friendly, both for desktop and mobile searches through Google. Therefore, those businesses which have not yet embraced mobile responsive websites have valid reason to be concerned.
Is Google trying to create their perfect version of the web with Mobilegeddon?
The search industry has noticed that mobile website traffic continues to increase relentlessly year on year, so much so that Google has also been focused on the subject of mobile usability for some time now.
General clues to this update being released from Google have been:
- Google releasing mobile usability features in Webmaster Tools
- Google’s testing tool helping webmasters understand how websites render on mobiles
For some time, it has been understood within the search industry that mobile device usage has overtaken desktop search, so Google are merely setting precedent through Mobilegeddon to encourage the industry to cater much better for users browsing websites through mobile devices.
The message from Google is clear, if your website is not optimised for mobile, it’s likely that your search ranking will suffer. Google cares most of all that people keep coming back to use their search engine. To that end they’ve spent years improving the speed-to-return and relevancy of their results, releasing updates in the process to put an end to spammy SEO tactics designed to dupe the search results, and focusing attention instead on returning high quality and relevant search results. Quality experiences happen when the user gets a device-specific experience, hence the requirement for Mobilegeddon.
Get ship shape for Mobilegeddon right now
Mobile websites should have been on the radar for years, but we know what it’s like, there’s a lot to do and change isn’t always easy. It was easier to let this subject slip when websites were only receiving 30% mobile traffic. However, with Google changing the game with Mobilegeddon, it means that non-responsive sites will suffer in the search engine ranking pages (SERPs). If you have been ignoring mobile, now is the time to get to grips with it. If you have a mobile website don’t worry, but if you don’t have a mobile site, it’s quite simple; the time has come to adopt a mobile responsive site.
How to get started
Start by asking a few questions to yourself such as, what do your visitors need when they visit your website through their mobile? What’s the best way to present that experience to them?
Set the foundations and build a strategy to attract and more importantly, help your customers’ experience on your website, no matter if they are using a desktop PC, tablet or mobile device.
Owain works in Digital Marketing for Decibel Digital, a Digital Agency based in Shoreditch, London.