Search Engine Optimization

3 Post-Mobilegeddon Syndromes In Its First Week and 5 Quick Facts about this SEO-pocolypse

11 minute read

In our previous blog post, we talked about how your websites can capitalize on Google’s new SEO algorithm. After the two-month fear and preparation of many webmasters, the latest dreaded Google’s Mobile Friendly Update has gone live on last Tuesday, April 21st. Not to mention the anxiety of webmasters on getting their website mobile-friendly, people are staring at their website traffic to see if it has any signs of going down, of which they could possibly blame that on this mobile algorithm update.

You may have heard about this “biggest change on SEO since 2011,” the Mobilegeddon, as it has been called online. If you have read our previous blog post, you may also know about the tactic of using Google’s test tool to test your page if it is mobile-friendly for users.

Although Google has released the news since late February, three post-mobilegeddon syndromes are expected — 1) your website passed the test and you feel perfectly fine about your mobile search traffic (Googlebot may not feel the same); 2) your website doesn’t pass the test but your team doesn’t know what to do, or choose to ignore the brutal fact; 3) or you may not even know these changes are even happening.

No matter which situation you are going through now, we can expect cries of pain from those whom the search algorithm has deemed less worthy in the next few weeks, as Google said it can take a few weeks for the algorithm to roll out. Brands are desperately gasping for the thin air, but the clocks are counting down.

To be blunt, Google expects a responsive website for mobile devices, and it penalizes those that do not fit its expectation. Ready?

Love it or hate it, the update is real and if your website does not catch up with what Google expects, it is highly possible that mobile searchers will rarely see your site again. But let’s now worry about that just yet. Here’s what you need to know about this SEO-pocolypse, mobilepocalyse, mobilegeddon, or whatever they called right now.

1. Besides Relevancy, Google is placing more emphasis on Mobile Devices and Readability

Changes in Google’s search algorithm are not news anymore. The previous algorithm changes in 2013 and 2011 were heavily focused on relevancy: relevant content ready swiftly for users. But recently, we see Google is now moving gradually towards how users experience after they click on a search result. To put into context Mobilegeddon, it is important for Google to know how easily users can receive information from the site on their mobile devices. For brands, this change is demanding a carefully-planned mobile-first strategy, but it is expected to bring a better mobile searching experience for the users.

2. It only affects mobile organic search.

The good news is, this update will only impact mobile searchers. It will have no impact on other rankings, including searches on desktop, tablets, or Adwords ads. This is only for organic listings. It will give a ranking boost to mobile-friendly pages in Google’s mobile search results and will penalize the pages that are not mobile-friendly for the users.

Google won’t remove the non-mobile-friendly sites in the mobile search results but they may demote the sites in the mobile search results if your site is not mobile-friendly, which sounds scary enough to most brands.

Ready? Here is the bad news. Why does Google care about searches from mobile? As Google’s Zineb Ait Bahajji from the Webmaster Trends team shared at SMX Munich, we know this mobile-friendly algorithm change has a significantly larger impact than Google Panda update and the Google Penguin update. The reason is that, for Google, almost 50% of all searches done on Google in U.S. are from mobile, and this figure is only going to grow. If over 50% of your web traffic stemmed from Google and your web pages are not mobile-friendly, it seems like all of the traffic from mobile is at huge risk.

3. It runs in real-time and is on a page-level

Unlike Penguin or Panda, the mobile-friendly algorithm is run in real-time and it runs on a page-by-page basis, as revealed by Google’s Gary Illyes presented on the mobile SEO panel at SMX West.

For Penguin or Panda, they run site-wide, impacting the whole entire site. But for this mobile algorithm change, Google are running separate mobile page indexes. It means that if you have a 5 site pages and 2 are responsive, those 2 will still benefit from the algorithm as soon as Google picks up on it and indexes the page. You can check Google’s latest assessment on your site’s pages on the Mobile Usability report in Webmaster Tools.

4. It’s a yes or no question. A web page can only be mobile friendly or not mobile friendly.

The algorithm assesses your page to be either mobile-friendly or not. There are no degrees or scores on mobile-friendliness in this update. Besides Google Testing Tool, the fastest way to see if your page is mobile-friendly is to do a live mobile search now and check if your page has the mobile-friendly label.

5. Paid search campaign may help.

Although Google has pre-announced the algorithm tweaks two months ago which is not very usual, this is still regarded as a short time frame for most of the brands that may only find budgets for website development with a long-term planning strategy.

If you can’t afford to start a redesign project just yet or don’t want to lose your search engine presence when your website is in the redesign process, a paid search campaign (PPC) that links to a mobile-friendly page may be a good interim solution until you’re ready to begin again. While Google’s latest algorithm will penalize mobile sites with a slow load time, readability of the contents, and navigation of the site, it can’t have the same effect on PPC ads. Your mobile visitors may not find your site on the organic search, they may still find your site from paid search and enjoy the same great user experience.

Boston Medical Centre failed to pass the mobile-friendly test.

What do you want to know more about this Mobile Update of Google? Let us know!