Back in April of this year, Google rolled out an algorithm update that shook website owners to the core.
Deemed “Mobilegeddon,” this update was expected to have significant impacts on any websites that didn’t meet Google’s newest standards. It struck fear in the hearts of the SEO community.
But what really happened after the April 21st roll-out? Did it really have that great of an impact?
The main purpose of the algorithm update was to place greater emphasis on mobile-friendly websites. That is, sites optimized for viewing on smartphones and tablets, whether via responsive design or a separate mobile platform.
The scary part for marketers (and business owners) was that this update would mean non-mobile sites would be pushed way down in search results on mobile, in favor of those that are mobile-friendly.
The short answer? Yes.
We saw this right away with Google searches on iPhones and other mobile devices clearly showing the “mobile-friendly” label to indicate to searchers which results would function better for them.
Recent studies have shown that a clear majority of top search results on mobile are, in fact, mobile-optimized websites. In fact, 77% of the top 10 search results are labeled mobile-friendly. 83% of #1 results are mobile-friendly. The further down the page you go, you can start to find non-optimized results. Mobilegeddon is real.
Certain industries are affected more than others, however. Retail keywords and e-commerce sites are definitely being affected more than other keywords. The top 10 search results for retail keywords had 17% more mobile-friendly sites than results for Education keywords.
There’s an emphasis on providing excellent buying experiences for users on mobile, which makes sense when compared to a heavy research-based topic like education. People want fast and easy user experiences on mobile for things like shopping, whereas they may be more likely to take time to read and research deeper topics that do not offer instant gratification.
Now, many people did not actually see any dramatic effects on their site traffic after the April Mobilegeddon roll-out. Was it just not as big of a deal as it seemed?
Not so fast. More likely the lack of impact is due to SEO experts and website owners having been prepared and with the times before the algorithm changed. It has long been known that mobile is the future, so many websites were already optimized for mobile use and any SEO expert worth their salt would have taken the necessary steps to ensure site optimization as well.
However, the update was gradual and continues to show slow and steady effects on any sites that are not mobile-friendly. Site traffic from mobile devices has never been as different as traffic from desktop as it is now; after the algorithm changed, results peaked at over 73% difference between mobile and desktop searches. This will only continue to grow.
At this time, it is absolutely crucial that your website is designed with mobile users in mind. And that goes for your mobile content – text and images alike – as well as the technical underpinnings.
Did you suffer the Mobilepocalypse? How did you prepare for mobile-friendly search?