It’s finally happened. After two months of anticipation, Google updated its search algorithm on Tuesday, April 21 to promote mobile-friendly sites. Some have called Google’s newest tweak Mobilegeddon, signifying the end of digital marketing as we know it, and the beginning of a new world that will require websites to be mobile-friendly to rank high in searches.
Essentially, the announcement made in February stated that the change to include more mobile-friendly websites in top search results was designed to create a more satisfying experience for Google users.
Many have claimed that this change is a premature and drastic measure, or that Google is simply getting too picky with its algorithm, but the statistics may change your mind. According to this post from Ian Mills of Magicdust, nearly 60 percent of mobile users will leave a website for another if it takes more than a few seconds to load on their mobile device, and 30 percent will completely abandon a transaction if the website is not optimized for mobile use.
Today, just a few days after the update, thousands of websites have been knocked off their feet because of the change, though, according to this post from Moz.com, no sites have reported any major hits to their traffic just yet. It’s a little too early to know the definite results of the algorithm change, but Moz predicts that several major names will be struck hard by the new requirements.
Surprisingly, major websites like YouTube, Amazon, and Target ranked relatively low on the list, with YouTube only showing up as mobile-friendly a quarter of the time. Perhaps the reason for its failure to show up as mobile-friendly is its dependence on the app. Having an app is good, but it’s not enough to boost rankings, as these websites will soon learn if they don’t make the necessary changes.
Though the projected hit on these major businesses is notable, it barely scratches the surface of the number of businesses the new algorithm will hurt. Those who are hit hardest will be small businesses, according to website strategist Brandon Prettyman.
“Small businesses lack the assets and knowledge to make the adjustment on their sites. Large businesses usually have extensive websites with custom functionality, and updating all those files can be overwhelming,” he reported to Search Engine Watch earlier this week.
Small business owners will suffer the most if they don’t take the steps necessary to improve their sites for mobile optimization, losing not only rankings, but revenues when traffic on their websites all but ends.
Despite the sudden call for change, business owners and website developers should have seen this movement coming, according to Mills’ previously mentioned post. His blog post was written nearly a year ago, and in it, he predicted the shift to mobile website use:
“As Google made clear with last year’s Hummingbird update, the future of search is mobile and websites that aren’t usable on handheld devices will see their search rank suffer for it.”
A year’s warning should have been ample time to recognize the change, but many did not pay enough attention to the shift and were unprepared for the change.
Despite the overwhelming number of companies projected to suffer, a number of companies have managed the shift to mobile use without a hitch. According to Moz’s post, the following companies tested for mobile friendliness 96 percent of the time or more.
When all is said and done, it looks like Google is slowly getting its way as it prompts businesses to make their websites more mobile-friendly, but only time will tell the true results of Mobilegeddon.[amazon template=iframe image&asin=1505578868]