May 01 2015 | by SAM PREW
Ever since Google’s mobile update was announced back in February, there has been mass hysteria surrounding the potential impact that it could have on businesses, both big and small. But in many ways, the update (which launched officially on 21st April) is long overdue…
Mobile internet access has been soaring year on year and it is predicted that in 2017, more than 90% of internet users will access online content through their phones. Any sites that are lacking a responsive design or mobile-friendly version are likely to provide a negative online experience to these users, so Google will now start to penalise them in their mobile SERPs.
Despite the immense build up, early signs are in fact slightly disappointing. Data from Searchmetrics confirms that for the large majority of sites, there has been very little impact from the change in algorithm. Considering that only approximately 52% of the Fortune 500 brand websites met Google’s standards for ‘mobile-friendliness’, a much bigger instant impact was expected.
However, in reality, it is too soon to tell. At this point we have to remind ourselves that Google made it clear two months ago that the update would roll out over weeks, so we may not truly know the full effect until the middle to end of May. Despite this, I personally still cannot see Google sacrificing showing high quality and more relevant information just because a mobile user may have to zoom in to see it. Don’t forget - the algorithm update is just that - an update. It will still take everything else into consideration and the following quote from Google highlights this…
“The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal, so even if a page with high quality content is not mobile-friendly, it could still rank high if it has great content for the query”.
While everyone has been distracted with ensuring that their website is as mobile friendly as possible, they may have missed another update which could potentially inflict bigger implications than Mobilegeddon. On 21st April, Facebook made three updates to the News Feed algorithm, which now prioritises posts from friends over Pages. This has arisen from Facebook polls which highlighted users concerns about missing out on updates from friends and family. It is now going to be harder than ever for businesses to been seen on News Feeds, and marketers will have to ensure their content is as engaging and relevant as possible to maintain user attention.
Although different, both Facebook and Google updates have the same end goal: user experience. So despite so much ambiguity surrounding the true impact of Mobilegeddon on search rankings, one thing we can conclude is that by forcing companies to improve their mobile designs, user experience will definitely be improved - the days of spending 2 minutes attempting to visit the page you want because your finger tip covers 3 different links will soon be gone! This update has solidified that we now live in a truly mobile world and having a website with a responsive design should be considered the norm.
Mobilegeddon – what was all the fuss about?