Beware of The Mobilegeddon

MAY 10, 2015

Beware of the Mobilegeddon!

Mobilegeddon is part of the popular lexicon to describe Google’s updated search algorithm. It is also a wakeup call for examining the mobile traffic side of business and the importance of setting up a mobile site or a responsive website as mobile device usage surges.

What’s it all about?

Google changed its search algorithm to favor sites that look good on smartphones. Websites that work better on smartphones lead to more mobile sales. When businesses sell more products/services on phones, they pay more for clicks to smartphone friendly sites. Clicks on smartphones are now as important as desktop clicks. Google has taken notice and is doing all it can to encourage them.

The force of Google is like the force of law. Now that it has set the rule for mobile friendly search, businesses will comply either because of threat of penalty (e.g., losing mobile traffic and ranking in search results) or because they see benefit to themselves (e.g., gaining higher conversion rates on mobile friendly sites).

The Consequences

Googlebot judgment day was April 21, 2015. Since the mobile algorithm’s release, SEO experts say that some businesses have lost ranking, traffic, and authority for pages not configured to be mobile friendly. The initial impact has been modest and only affects mobile traffic searches. If you are a small business and little of your customer traffic comes from smartphones, it might be insignificant. Websites aren’t being obliterated from Google search for not being mobile friendly. But you won’t sit as high in search results as compared to competitors that have a smartphone responsive website, which means your leads and revenues could be affected and degrade, if not today, then soon.

Mobilegeddon, if not an imminent threat, is an opportunity. A responsive website is Google’s preferred way to get a “mobile friendly” label in search results on smartphones. Responsive sites serve the same HTML and URL to any device, making it easier to track site traffic no matter how users choose to visit. Responsive templates and small changes (avoiding Flash, unplayable videos, blocked image files) may lead to big increases in new search rankings.

Even if you aren’t worried about mobile traffic today, it is a certainty that more users will go mobile in the future, so it may be worthwhile to make the mobile update now to better serve future customers.