The word on the streets was doom-laden. Google’s much-feared significant algorithm change, nicknamed Mobilegeddon, was predicted to wreak havoc with the mobile search results from 21st April 2015.

The update highlighted the search giant’s intention to stay abreast of new ways to consume the internet. And it clearly signalled the importance of mobile-friendly websites, something we’ve been taking into account in clients’ website designs for a long time. But what, exactly, has been happening since the change rolled out last month? We thought we’d rummage around online, ask around and see what people are saying.

Mobile friendly search update

On 7th May the gurus at Searchengineland reported that while Google said the Mobile Friendly Update was fully rolled out to little effect, some search experts felt it was only the beginning.

The update was hardly the apocalyptic beast it was made out to be, allegedly even scarier than Google’s infamous Panda and Penguin updates. Why didn’t Mobilegeddon have the expected dire impact? The jury is out, but some feel it’s because site owners acted in advance and made their sites mobile-friendly just in time, something they really should have done back in 2009 when the Big G announced its interest in ‘blended’ mobile search ranking.

The numbers stack up: according to Google, there was a 4.7% increase in mobile friendly sites during March and April 2015 as a direct result of the update. Presumably, people were far too traumatised by the potential loss of mobile search visibility not to.

Searchengineland concludes that while the mobile-friendly update might have affected a lot of queries, it didn’t flatten offending websites in the way Panda and Penguin did, nor has it changed the mobile search landscape anything like as dramatically as so many people expected so far.

Should we rest on our laurels? That would be silly when the way people consume the web is changing fast, highly unlikely to stop changing in the future. After all, the net might be vast, but it’s still in its infancy.

Econsultancy on Mobilegeddon one month on

Econsultancy has also taken a look at the impact of Mobilegeddon a month after it was released. In their words:

“Websites that didn’t attempt to improve their mobile friendliness before April 21 are likely to have seen a drop in mobile-specific rankings. This, in turn, will lead to a decline in traffic which is ultimately bad news for revenue.

Then there’s user experience. As a rule, responsive web design creates an optimal cross-device viewing experience. Google is a fan because it’s straightforward to implement and compatible with ‘search spiders’ eager to index your content. Is your business’ marketing mix increasingly weighted towards social media? People using these platforms to access information typically do so on mobile devices, not desktop computers.

Ecommerce businesses take note: consumers searching via a mobile device are also more results- focused than those on a desktop computer, which can mean quicker purchase decisions. In fact, a recent study by iAquire and SurveyMonkey found that 70% of mobile searches lead to action on websites within one hour. The same survey showed that 40% of people will choose another site if yours isn’t mobile-friendly.”

Any insight from our fellow digital marketers?

We’ve heard a few stories about mobile-unfriendly sites losing visibility, then getting it back as soon as they mended their wicked ways and Google indexed the changes. It’s good news if you’re a late starter, but staying current and relevant might not always be so straightforward in future.

2 key things to remember about mobile-friendly search

  1. In the USA people have noticed how listings rank higher in smartphone search than they do on a desktop for some searches, simply because the site previously ranking higher isn’t mobile friendly. There’s no real reason why the UK should be different, and it means businesses are losing search traffic through not being mobile friendly. Is that you?
  2. Smartphone search results on Google were already very different to the results you get from a desktop search. Now they’re even more different. If you don’t have a foot in the mobile friendly camp, you’ll be losing out on a huge untapped market of mobile web consumers, even if your desktop-friendly site has decent levels of visibility in natural search.

The conclusion? Mobilegeddon might be over but the march of the mobiles will continue. It would be naïve to think remaining mobile-unfriendly won’t affect your business. It makes logical sense to get busy right now and stay ahead of the game instead of falling so far behind you might never catch up

Everything we do is mobile-compatible

We make mobile accessibility a core part of every website we design, something we do automatically. If your existing website isn’t mobile-friendly, we know exactly how to make it so, even if it means switching platforms from something dated and inflexible to WordPress, in our opinion the best there is. If you’re interested, get in touch