Mobilegeddon: the day when Google starts preferring to display websites that are mobile friendly over those that aren’t (on mobile, with all else being equal).
Mobilegeddon is Upon Us
That day is here. Should you move your family to the bomb shelter, start hoarding ammo, or withdraw your banked savings? No. Should you play Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” at full volume and wail into your hairbrush? Eh, sure, let those feelings out. Now take a breath and I’ll walk you through it.
If you have a website and want to show up in Google searches, you may have heard of Google’s infamous search algorithms. In fact, an entire industry has grown from it. People in the field of SEO (search engine optimization) strive to create an online presence that search engine bots can navigate and understand.
Google’s goal is similar to most companies’: provide an excellent experience. They are continuously making tweaks and changes to their algorithm in order to understand a user’s intent and return quality, relevant results. On average Google makes between 500 and 600 changes a year with Google announcing the larger ones.
What is Mobilegeddon?
Mobilegeddon is the hype surrounding the newest Google update. It specifically targets mobile searches, hence the nickname. With the prevalence of smartphones, mobile users make up a large portion of traffic for many companies. Google will be boosting the ranking of pages it considers to be mobile-friendly, causing the ranks of others to decrease. Anything that may decrease such a population can be seen as a threat, maybe even the end of the world.
What is Mobile-Friendly?
If you load a webpage on your phone and do have to drag the screen around, resize it, or otherwise be inconvenienced in order to use it, it is probably NOT mobile-friendly. Here are some of the items that Google checks for that your site needs.
– Text is large enough to read
– Content fits inside the screen
– Links are distanced so that users can select items accurately (some of us have sausage fingers)
– Tap targets are large enough to be tapped easily
When Will I Get Hit?
Although the update is being released on April 21st, it will take about a week to roll out. Once Google notices that your page is mobile-friendly, it will be judged as such. The mobile-friendly label, however, may take more time before it is displayed.
Is My Site Safe?
The quickest and probably the most reliable way to know for sure if Google has rated your site as mobile friendly is to Google it on a mobile phone. If it has a mobile-friendly tag, you are good to go!
If your site is not showing the tag, it may be that Google hasn’t indexed it as such yet. Analyze your site with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. You can also use the Mobile Usability Report in Webmaster Tools.
Should I Worry If My Site Didn’t Pass?
So, you found that your website isn’t mobile friendly. Should you update it? Is it ok to leave it alone? The answers vary depending on your user base and business. If you are selling electric wheelchairs to the elderly, they are less likely to use their phones for Internet browsing and shopping. Google won’t say the percentage of queries that will be impacted by the update, just that it will be bigger than previous updates Panda (~12%) and Penguin (~4%).
First, do you care about mobile traffic? Don’t just assume so, check it out! Ask yourself these questions:
– Does a good percentage of your traffic occur on mobile?
— You don’t know? Add Google Analytics to your site and come back to me.
– Is it converting well?
— If not, it could be because your site sucks on mobile.
If a good chunk of your traffic is done on mobile devices and/ or mobile traffic is converting well, you likely want to look into updating your site.
Second, take a look at what your site needs in order to be mobile-friendly.
-How much will it cost?
-Would it be worth paying to avoid a drop in traffic and conversions on mobile devices?
If you do decide to change your site, take a look at Google’s guides to avoiding common mistakes. For the developer or DIYer they have also put together a list of tutorials for the most common hosting platforms.
Keeping up with the Googles
Oh, you want to see these ever-changing algorithms? This secret is kept better than the 23 flavors in Dr. Pepper or the recipe to Bush’s Baked Beans. It might as well be the Eighth Wonder of the World. What’s a website owner to do?
– Keep an eye on big changes. Moz has a comprehensive list.
– Get news straight from the horse’s mouth. Read Google’s Blog.
– Follow news sites and blogs such as Search Engine Land, Search Engine Watch, Moz, or Yoast. Some companies compare websites’ metrics with how Google treats them. Their correlations can give a little more insight into what Google may be looking for.
Even if neither your website nor users are mobile friendly, it is important to recognize that mobile is growing. That’s why Google put out the update in the first place! The number of mobile users has surpassed the number of desktop users. People can, and do, use their phones for more and more tasks as devices get smarter and faster. While it may not make sound business sense for you to expand into the mobile realm now, it likely will soon.
If you are interested in building a mobile application to support your business, let us know! Don’t know where to start or how an app can benefit your business? We offer end to end solutions and free consultations.