Is Your Website Mobilegeddon-Ready?

In the digital marketing world, April 21, 2015 is kind of a big deal. If you believe some reports, it’s the date when SEO will fundamentally and irrevocably change.

So… What Will Happen?

As marketers, we love giving fun names to new concepts or events. That’s why April 21 quickly became known as “Mobilegeddon” among digital marketers.

The buzz toward the date began in February, when Google announced it would update the algorithm it uses to rank websites in search results. In Google’s own words:

We will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.

What sounds innocent enough in reality means a major overhaul of Google’s ranking algorithm. In other words, for users searching from phones or tablets—which is increasing every day—websites that are not optimized for mobile devices will rank much lower in search results. 

Google Not Mobile Friendly

Why Does It Matter?

Because Google matters. If your website drops in ranking, it could impact anything from your web views to your revenue. No less than 93 percent of all Internet experiences begin with a search engine, and Google’s market share in the search engine industry is now nearing 68 percent, meaning that when the majority of users begin their Internet usage, they will most likely navigate to Google before all else.

Why Would Google Do This?

Google has long championed user experience, stating in its mission statement the philosophy that with a “focus on the user, all else will follow.” As such, the update shows that Google has not been ignorant about recent Internet trends.

Since last year, more users use mobile devices to browse the web than desktops, and that gap is only expected to widen in the near future. When using a service like Google, these users expect to find websites that are optimized for the devices on which they search. If they don’t, they’ll be dissatisfied not only with the website but also with Google itself for showing irrelevant or unusable results.

Because global web traffic from mobile devices is on the rise, and recent studies show that mobile visitors are more likely to revisit mobile-friendly sites, mobile usability is now relevant for optimal search results. This means that search results for mobile users should lead to content that is usable.

That’s why mobile-friendliness is not just important for businesses, but also for Google. It’s why an algorithm update like Mobilegeddon should be no surprise.

Will My Website Be Impacted?

The easy answer: It depends. How optimized for mobile devices is your website? If you are confident that your responsive design or mobile site works well regardless of screen size, you should be in the clear. If you don’t have either of the above, you might be in trouble.

Of course, many businesses will fall into the grey zone between the extremes of mobile optimization. In that case, it’s best to do your research as soon as possible. Google offers a Mobile-Friendly Test, where you can easily check whether your website complies with the search engine’s guidelines.

Google's Mobile Friendly Test

Of course, even the mighty Google can’t do everything perfectly. As the Search Engine Journal found, these tests are not without flaw, so even if they give your website a green light, double-check it. (Our own site passed, then failed, then passed several times in tests where we changed nothing, simply re-analyzed the URL!)

You can also review Google’s guidelines for mobile-friendly websites, which is a great checklist to ensure you’re in compliance.

Another option is to simply test your website and its usability on various mobile devices. As Google stated in response to the SEJ article above, the algorithm will judge sites based on the experiences of real users, and the best way to make sure you’re in compliance is to become one of those “real users.”

Long-Term Consequences to Mobilegeddon

Of course, like so many seemingly innocuous or isolated changes, Mobilegeddon has the potential to create ripple effects through the marketing landscape. Not only are other search engines like Bing likely to follow suit, but the announcement has already brought a greater awareness of the importance of adjusting your marketing strategies for mobile devices.

With the gap between mobile and desktop internet usage only widening in the future, optimizing all of your marketing efforts—from email to social media—for mobile devices will soon no longer be an option; if you are looking for marketing success, they are a must.

To learn more and to have your site evaluated for its mobile-friendliness, contact us!

Photo Credit: Richard Holt® via Compfight cc

Management consultant and brand strategist for small teams. Fan of dark tea, thick books, peace, and unity.

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