It’s been a few weeks since Google rolled out its mobile-friendly algorithm, aptly dubbed ‘Mobilegeddon’. The algorithm, designed to improve the mobile browsing experience, has boosted traffic for ‘mobile-friendly’ websites, while penalising those that aren’t optimised for mobile devices.
Google has been concerned with mobile-friendly content for a while now, but, until recently, most searches were still conducted from desktop devices. Back in February Google announced that it was focused on bettering its service for the growing number of mobile users with a mobile friendly update that would be rolled out on April 21st 2015. Since the announcement there has been a 4.7% uptick in the proportion of sites that are mobile friendly.
So as webmasters scrambled to make their websites mobile-friendly to meet the April 21st deadline, what was the true impact of Mobilegeddon and what do you need to do if you’ve been hit?
The impact of Mobilegeddon
Mobilegeddon was somewhat sensationalised with a lot of the figures and statistics out there being inflated. But there has been some famous losers from the roll-out of the update, e.g. Reddit, some news websites and over 40% of Fortune 500 websites failed Googles Mobile-Friendly Test.
However, the roll out signified something much bigger for marketers and businesses; they need to wake up to the fact that mobile browsing is here and it’s only going to grow. More people than ever are browsing and making purchases on their mobile and your site needs to be mobile-friendly if you want to be included in Google’s index to get traffic, leads and those all-important sales!
How to tell if you’ve been hit?
If you’re unsure over whether your site has been negatively affected by the mobile-friendly update, simply check your site’s mobile rankings. Take your top keywords and see where they now rank. If you’ve dropped out of Google it’s likely you’ve been affected by the update. If you are in the same relative position, or even higher, it’s likely that you haven’t been hit.
But What If your Website Still Isn’t Mobile-Friendly?
Even though Mobilegeddon wasn’t the apocalypse some analysts were expecting, the update will be released gradually over the coming months. So if you haven’t suffered yet, you could do further down the line. If you have been hit, don’t worry, you shouldn’t see a sudden and massive drop in mobile traffic. But if you don’t take the steps to make you site mobile-friendly, you will start to notice an overall drop off.
What Do You Need to Do to Make Your Website Mobile Friendly?
If you think you’ve been hit you need to start the recovery process. If you optimise for mobile, there’s no reason why you won’t start to see rankings be restored within a few months.
Even if you’re not entirely sure whether you’ve been hit or not, you still need to make your site mobile-friendly. Here’s a summary of what you have to do to optimise your site for mobile and pass Google’s mobile-friendly test:
1. Make sure your text isn’t too small to read
Your website visitors should be able to read your content without having to magnify it several times. We recommend that your font size should be at least 14px.
2. Include a viewport meta tag
The viewport is an essential element of responsive web design; it gives the browser instructions on how to scale the page depending on the dimension of the device the user is viewing your site on.
3. Ensure your content isn’t wider than the screen
This can usually be solved by specifying the viewpoint width, but you could trip up if you haven’t optimised your images or tables. We recommend manually testing your pages to ensure that everything is readable on a small device.
4. Don’t use incompatible plugins
Flash is not supported by mobile browsers, so any type of fancy animation is going to hamper the user’s experience of your website. We recommend avoiding Flash elements.
5. Make sure your links aren’t too close together
We all know how infuriating it can be to accidentally press the wrong link so make sure any links on your website are spaced well apart. This is more difficult to implement than some of the other points on this list.
Even if you’re already doing all of this, bear in mind that Mobilegeddon is part of the larger question around how well you serve your audience. If your website is slow, full of empty URLs and dead ends, then simply passing Google’s test won’t help you convert your visitors. There are more than 200 ranking factors that determine the position of websites.
As more people continue to use search on mobile, Google is likely to tweak its algorithm, adding factors that they believe will improve the user experience. Google’s mobile-friendly test does not currently consider page speed and load speed but there are already indications that this is a factor in mobile rankings. Some websites which are still not mobile-friendly are still outranking responsive sites with a heavier code base and slower load times.
With indexing still happening, it’s still hard to fully assess the impact of Mobilegeddon. One thing is certain though, and that is that mobile search rankings and desktop search rankings are diverging. SEO Clarity is reporting that mobile search results are now 69% different than desktop results, it’s therefore no longer possible to ignore mobile searches and mobile SEO.
If you’re still not sure if your website is mobile friendly, or if you want a helping hand, then get in touch with us today.