In April of 2015, Google rolled out a series of changes to its search algorithm, specifically aimed at websites that had not yet adopted a mobile friendly design. In search industry circles, it was dubbed “mobilegeddon” and for many sites, it seemed that the sky had fallen as their search relevance plummeted. With this barely in the rearview mirror, it is understandable why many are nervous about the new changes to mobile search that recently rolled out on May 12, 2016.
Google’s John Mueller confirmed the timing on his Twitter feed, in his inimitable, quiet way, “FYI, the mobile changes mentioned here are now fully rolled out,” then dropped a link to Google’s webmaster blog for further explanation.
In typical fashion, the Tweetisphere responded with snarky comments, like this one from @tyron_love “Mobilegeddon2!” Which netted a response from Mueller, “No, not really.” And it turns out he’s right.
Who is affected?
Google has been talking about the change on their webmaster blog since March. They indicated it would be a page-by-page rollout that would only impact pages that were not mobile friendly. The goal has been for this to have a less drastic impact on non-mobile friendly sites than the initial roll out in 2015.
Klemen Klobes, a software designer with Google was quoted earlier in the year, “Beginning in May, we’ll start rolling out an update to mobile search results that increases the effect of the ranking signal to help our users find even more pages that are relevant and mobile-friendly.”
As with most of what Google has been doing with mobile search results over the past year or so, they are aimed at rewarding sites that have mobile friendly designs, rather than discounting those that do not. In other words, if your site is mobile friendly, you should not be effected. In fact, for desktop and laptop computer users, there will be no difference, since the changes are implemented only on mobile search.
What’s the big deal?
Since 2008, predictions have indicated that mobile search traffic was going to overtake traditional computer searches by 2014, and although it was a bit behind schedule, we did pass that tipping point in 2015. What does this mean for you? More potential clients and customers are now searching for your products and services using mobile devices than desktop computer systems. This makes mobile friendliness a big priority for companies that want to remain competitive in the modern online eco-system.
What should you do?
Many sites that thought they were mobile friendly may not be, as the technology is moving closer to an App style programming model that provides the best possible mobile device experience. So, how do you know? Google has set up a “Mobile friendly” test that allows you to view individual pages of your site in order to determine if what you are currently doing is working.
This is important, since the newest changes to the mobile search algorithm are based on a page-by-page analysis and not site wide. This means that portions of your website may not be effected, while other pages may not be showing up at all. We are recommending that everyone that relies on their website to bring them business, or service customers, either run the analysis themselves, or hire a developer to check it out.
According to the Google webmaster blog, if you have a highly relevant site with good information it is likely to rank very high, even without a mobile friendly design. We’d like to point out that there is no sense in taking chances. Why risk missing even one potential customer when it is completely preventable? Canopy Media only builds mobile-friendly websites through our Website That Works package. Contact us for a full analysis of what your current site and recommended solutions for moving forward into the mobile search market.
It’s a brave new world.