April 21, 2015 is a date that changed the Google search landscape for businesses large and small. This was the launch of Google’s new algorithm labeled “mobilegeddon.” Its significant impact has already been seen, and its effect has become widespread. The algorithm is designed to produce very different search results for mobile devices and desktop computers. Google’s rationale for the change is that it wants to ensure consistency for mobile users which will result in a positive user experience.
The key criterion for businesses that have a website is what Google calls “mobile friendliness.” This new criteria has the potential to dramatically impact websites that do not meet the “mobilegeddon” requirements. The launch does not affect users of desktops and laptops, but recent studies show that almost 50 percent of Internet searches are done on mobile devices. So if you have a website that is not mobile friendly by Google’s standards, you can find yourself on the wrong end of a search result.
Marketingland reports that when considering the top 100 websites, a lowly 11.8 percent have a responsive design. A reported 57 percent of users will not recommend a business that does not have a mobile friendly website, and 40 percent stated they chose a competitor’s website that was mobile friendly. A final statistic is that more than 50 percent of mobile users complain that mobile websites do not provide enough information of the product or service.
Winners and Losers
Mobilegeddon continues to make its impact felt, and it is seen in the list of winners and losers since its launch. Companies like Searchmetrics have been following ranking results from a number of businesses and create lists of those most affected by the mobile friendly criteria. Here are some results of the recent fallout.
It is important to note that websites such as Reddit and NBC Sports have native apps, so having a mobile friendly website may not be essential in the eyes of management. Despite this, mobilegeddon will likely cost them in visibility in mobile searches.
The Question is: Should You Optimize?
A number of business owners will have to decide whether to embark on a project to make their own website mobile friendly and responsive. This is an expensive venture, and after talking to several business owners there are some questions as to the actual impact not becoming mobile friendly will have on their bottom line. There is the possibility of unintended consequences for either choice, so the decision is not an easy one.
My advice is you need to seriously consider making the mobile-friendly changes if the bulk of your customers are millennials. One metric is to check your site visit data, and if it shows mobile traffic increasing over a period of time, you are likely to see an increase in overall conversion rates by making the changes to become responsive.
You are invited to take the Mobile Friendly Test from Google and see whether your business meets the standards.