Mobile, Mobile Friendly, responsive design – these are the words you’ve probably heard being repeated countless times over the last couple of years. We all know that mobile is big, both in terms of smartphone penetration and the size of the app market. It’s simple – a lot of people have smartphones nowadays and they use them to go online. However not all webmasters seem to have noticed that the web is still full of sites offering a terrible mobile experience. This poor experience is something Google didn’t like – of course it’s only logical for a search engine to want to be able to present searchers with a good results, and when people click through to the sites they should get a good user experience.
One of the reasons you may have already heard about Google’s Mobilegeddon update is because, unlike other update including Penguin and Panda, Google themselves gave forewarning with an exact date of when they will be launching the update.
As early as January this year Google started testing warnings for non-mobile friendly sites.
This was followed up with an official statement from Google on February 26th 2015 in which they have announced that starting from April 21st, mobile-friendliness will become an ranking factor. What that means is that site which aren’t mobile friendly may not rank as well as those who are mobile friendly. In March a number of sites received messages in their Google webmaster tools like the one below.
I think it’s fair to say that people have been warned.
The Roll Out
The official roll out started on Tuesday, April 21st 2015. Again it was confirmed on Webmaster Central Blog.
According to this statement, the mobile friendly update will affect:
Search rankings on mobile devices – this is very important as it means that sites which get little mobile traffic will hardly feel any impact. Although the percentage of mobile is getting bigger with every year, it is worth noting that in some niches, the percentage of mobile traffic is very small.
Searches in all languages – a global update affecting all versions of Google search engine. Individual pages rather than entire websites – what it means is that the update may affect some of your pages more than others. It is therefore crucial to make sure that all of your most important pages are mobile friendly.
The impact so far
Looking at the Algoroo chart we can see that the impact of the update wasn’t huge. Personally I haven’t seen any major changes across the sites I’m working with. There was however a quite interesting study on mobile update Winners and Losers from Searchmetrics.
Weather your site was affected or not, one thing is certain. Google takes mobile very seriously and so should you. It doesn’t mean you have to rush in and redesign your site but make sure you look into your analytics data and analyze the traffic you get from mobile devices. Start with research on what makes a good mobile website, look into mobile conversions, user behavior and base your decision on accurate data and your business goals.