Google recently announced that starting on April 21, 2015, it would incorporate a mobile-friendliness factor into its ranking algorithm. Almost as shocking as Villanova’s loss to NC State, this latest update is said to exclusively affect mobile search results and has created so much hype that some in the industry have dubbed it “mobilegeddon.”
In a world where over 2.7 billion people have smartphones, it has become the norm to rely on our iPhones or Androids to search for everything from restaurant reservations to sporting event tickets, a new pair of Yeezy Boost’s and beyond.
In its announcement, Google stated that the new update would have a “significant impact in our search results.” It will be rolled out gradually worldwide and affect mobile searches in all languages across the globe.
Why is making your site mobile-friendly so important?
Mobile search currently makes up about 30 percent of total traffic across all industries. Depending on the industry, users searching on their mobile phone could make up more than 50 percent of traffic and this number continues to grow.
Google’s ranking algorithm determines the order in which we see results appear on search engine results pages (SERPs). Research shows 75 percent of all searchers will never go past the first page of results and 99 percent will never go past the second page, therefore it is vital to understand and follow Google’s algorithm in order to rank high in SERPs.
Zineb Ait Bahajji, from Google’s Webmaster Trends team, said at SMX Munich that the upcoming mobile-friendly ranking algorithm will have more of an impact on Google’s search results than the previous Google Panda and Google Penguin updates. Considering Panda and Penguin are two of the largest and most impactful search algorithm updates Google has ever launched, Zineb’s statement rings true. It is very possible that the majority of non-mobile optimized sites on the web will see a significant drop in search visibility and traffic once the update is implemented.
Taking into consideration mobile traffic continues to grow, paired with the evolution and omnipresence of smartphones, it makes sense that Google would focus its newest algorithm update on the mobile-friendliness factor in order to enhance the search experience for users on their mobile phones.
Remember earlier when I told you about 30 percent of traffic across all industries come from mobile searches? Imagine if your site was no longer visible in mobile search engines. This could lead to significant drops in traffic to your site, ultimately impacting leads generated, sales, etc.
How to prepare yourself
Is your organization’s website mobile-friendly? If this is something you have been putting off, the time to make this update is now! If your website is not mobile-friendly you may be taking a huge risk when April 21st rolls around.
For help creating a mobile-friendly site, check out Google’s guide or contact the LEVICK team. You can test a few pages of your site using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Testing tool.
Rachel Racoosin is a Senior Account Executive at LEVICK. She provides SEO, SEM, and social media expertise to a variety of clients.