Mobilegeddon – Is Google Forcing You to Go Mobile?

April 21 2015, Google announced the arrival of Mobile update which aims to make Google’s organic results more friendly to mobile phones. Here’s what the official declaration came –

Starting Today, April 21 2015, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.

What does it mean to you?

In simple words, if your website is not mobile friendly, you may notice a fall in your organic search rankings. According to this new update, mobile compatibility of a website is now a ranking factor.

Having said that, it does not mean every website which is not friendly to mobile phones would be penalized in search results. Obviously, this is not the only ranking factor, there are many. So, if a website has high quality and relevant contents that match up well with a user’s search query, it may still rank as it ranked before.

My website is not mobile friendly, still my rankings were not affected

Well, you are lucky, but it definitely does not mean you are safe. The effect of this Mobilegeddon update may not be immediate or equal on all websites. If you have not been caught this time, you may get hit in the next refresh of this update. And, Google is not bound to announce every refresh of the updates.  Remember, it has already been included in the ranking algorithm and can be refreshed any time.

Should I get a responsive website to make my website mobile friendly?

You should get a mobile friendly website whether responsive or not. A responsive website is the one where a responds to a user device’s screen size and fits properly to give an enhanced and customized User Experience (UX).

Though, you can have dedicated versions of your website for different devices. May be three – one for bigger screens like desktops and laptops, one for mid-sized screens like tablets, iPads, and third for mobile phones. In all cases, you can configure your website to redirect automatically to the right version according to user’s device screen size.

Which is better?

Well, it’s on you. You can choose any of the two methods, what Google cares for is – mobile compatibility.

Isn’t Google forcing this update? Forcing people to go mobile?

I would say – NO.

Take a deep breath and think how having a mobile friendly website will affect your business. The reach of your business would extend and expand to new segments of potential customers. You would be able to make your business more accessible and your existing as well as the potential customers would be happier to be able to access your business and browse your website better from any device.

Now, let’s take a few facts here –

  • About 90% of all media interactions are screen based
  • Around 40% of our media interactions occur on smartphones
  • Over 30% of all internet users in India go online via their smartphones only
  • 47% internet users in India and around 30% in USA use their smartphone to do their product/service research before actually buying them

Source: Consumer Barometer

This is where the potential is. Mobile is the future. Shouldn’t Google Search and You be ready for the future? My answer is – of course YES.

So, Google has done its bit to make you ready for the future, how about you?

Let me come to the word – forcing – now. There has been a lot of unnecessary uproar all over Internet since this update came. They say Google has forced this update.

I don’t think Google has forced this update. Remember, it has not come overnight, Google has done every bit to convince marketers.

June 2013 – Educating people to fix errors on mobile version of websites, handling Googlebot-Mobile, setting up proper redirects on smartphones, optimizing for feature phone etc.

July 2014 – Promoting modern websites for modern devices in Google search results. Educating on developing modern multi-device websites. Warning searchers in US that certain site uses Flash and may not work properly on their device.

Nov. 2014 – Making searchers aware of a mobile friendly website in the SERP itself by using ‘Mobile-Friendly’ text below the site URL.

2015 – Introducing tools to find if a website is mobile friendly. Detailed tutorial on how to develop mobile friendly website. Mobile Usability Report in GWT, #MobileMadness Social Media Campaign, Multi-Screen Resources on ThinkwithGoogle.

Hence, I don’t at all think Google has forced this update.

Mobilegeddon and AdWords – What’s cooking here?

Does this #mobilegeddon update has any affect on AdWords campaigns or on their performances?

The simple answer is – NO. This update does not impact AdWords.

However, I could spot some of the ads with ‘mobile-friendly’ text written along with the ad description line. Though, it did not come on 21st – the day of update – it was there a few days ago as well. The aim is to make people aware of a mobile friendly website so that they may feel encouraged to visit such websites even from their mobile phones. It’s not the impact of  #mobilegeddon update.

But yes, mobile-friendly landing pages do impact your overall landing page experience and quality scores, and it’s not new. It was announced in Nov. 2011 itself.

 

To sum up, I would say – welcome this new update and get your websites ready for mobiles, if not already. The world is changing, you and your business should obviously make pace with it to succeed.

All the best!

 

Have questions? Do not hesitate, feel free to ask them in comments below.

 

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A full-stack Digital Marketing Strategist with over a decade of experience, Ratan Jha has helped brands of every size scale up to the next levels.

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