Breaking Down Google’s Mobilegeddon

Lisa Gettings / 17th April 2015 / Comment

Consider this scenario: You’re searching for something on Google with your smartphone. You click on one of the first results and land on a site with tiny text that makes you zoom and scroll from side to side. Links are hard to click on and you can’t navigate. In frustration, you go back to Google and pick another site. Lather, rinse, repeat. You don’t find what you’re looking for and now you’re annoyed with Google.

Enter the New Mobile-Friendly Google Algorithm Update

 

You may have heard that Google is rolling out a new algorithm that rewards mobile-friendly websites on April 21. What does this mean? Users searching on mobiles devices will primarily be served sites that are mobile-friendly. In other words, content designed specifically for mobile devices. Which would effectively eliminate the aforementioned scenario.

Up until now, Google has served searchers the best results regardless of the sites’ screen optimization. After April 21, sites that meet Google’s mobile-friendly criteria will be given preference in mobile search results.

Is it Really Mobilegeddon?

Search Google for “Mobilegeddon” and you will find over 154k results – a telling sign of the web’s collective anxiety heading into next week’s change. But after digging deeper, we find the fear factor of this nomenclature to be somewhat hyperbolic.

According to Search Engine Land, mobile search currently makes up about 30% of total traffic, regardless of industry. But it’s worth examining your site’s organic search traffic and sales from mobile devices before you panic and make marketing decisions based on fear.

If your site doesn’t pass the mobile-friendly test, it’s highly likely that you will lose a percentage of your organic search traffic from mobile devices. And according to Search Engine Watch, it’s also possible that responsive websites will be given preference in Google Search over dedicated mobile sites. Thankfully, there are several steps you can take to ensure your website is optimized for Google’s latest shake up:

Mistakes to Avoid

  • Don’t block JavaScript, CSS, and image files from Googlebot
  • Don’t use software that is uncommon or unplayable on mobile devices
  • Avoid code tricks that mimic mobile friendliness, like using viewport or responsive meta tags
  • Don’t simply opt for a mobile version of your site; making your site responsive is the best the solution
  • Don’t equate a mobile-friendly site with good SEO. Just because mobile devices can easily access your site doesn’t mean that your SEO work is done

3 Steps You Can Take Now

1. Run a mobile-friendly test here:

https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

2. Track mobile usability in Webmaster Tools:

http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com.es/2014/10/tracking-mobile-usability-in-webmaster.html

3. Learn how to make your site mobile-friendly:

https://developers.google.com/webmasters/mobile-sites/website-software/

The Bottom Line

While it’s not the end of the world, it is vital that your site’s content is accessible to mobile readers, and that you are providing a great user experience on mobile devices. As the boundaries of content and devices are continually pushed, making your site responsive is a long-term investment worth making.

By Lisa Gettings