‘Mobilegeddon’ Came And Went – How Was It For You?

So this month Google updated their algorithm to include the mobile friendliness of websites for searches on mobile devices. And the whole world went into panic mode.

Web developers all around the world had a field day, warning concerned website owners to get a mobile responsive website ASAP before they were ‘penalised’ by Google. We kid you not. We noticed more than one developer warning people that they would fall victim to a penalty if they failed to have a mobile friendly website in place before April 21 this year. Not cool. Not cool at all. This is clearly not true at all, and this one new ranking factor is just one in over 200 ranking factors!

So it’s not surprising people were panicking – but this was merely a scare tactic employed by unscrupulous persons to try and solicit more business. There was a great deal of interest surrounding this particular algorithm update mainly because it was the first algorithm update that Google have announced in advance. Penguin and Panda arrive incognito and it’s only through the use of tools like the Moz Forecast or by keeping a close eye on your rankings and the whisperings in the SEO world do we know whether an algorithm update has been rolled out.

Of course, what a lot of people didn’t realise is that this update was only going to affect your rankings on mobile devices. Search results on desktops are completely unaffected by this update. Gary Illyes at SMX Sydney also confirmed that tablets are treated as desktop searches at the moment so this ranking update really does only affect mobile phones, not even tablets. So if you were getting the majority of your traffic (or at least a significant amount of traffic) from mobile searches, then this update was a clear wake up call to ensure this traffic continued to your site unaffected.

When we looked at the traffic sources by device on Google Analytics, we were surprised by some of our stats. Clients we expected to have a higher proportion of traffic from mobile devices didn’t, and ones we expected to have more traffic from desktops didn’t either. Traffic from mobile devices for our clients ranged from 8% to over 70% in some cases.

Finally, it’s worth remembering that even if you only get around to updating your website’s mobile friendliness after April 21, your mobile rankings should be affected immediately. In the past, we have had to wait for the next Google update before seeing a change in rankings if changes have been made in between updates.

We think it’s so important for websites to have a mobile responsive design as the growth in mobile search is simply phenomenal. It was recently confirmed that there are officially more searches being conducted on mobile devices than desktops which means now is the time to become mobile-friendly if you aren’t already. Viewing a non-mobile friendly website on a mobile device does not provide a good user experience and may well cause people to simply leave your site and find one that offers them the content they want in a user friendly layout.

If you normally got a relatively decent chunk of traffic to your site from mobile devices, did you make any changes to your site before the update? And have you seen any changes in your mobile rankings since April 21? We would love to hear how this update has affected you, if at all!

Also, if you are interested in what Gary Illyes from Webmaster Tools has to say on ‘mobilegeddon’, check our our SMX Sydney 2015 roundup here!