It’s been just a month since Google’s latest (pro-mobile) update dubbed ‘Mobilegeddon’ rolled out across a data centre near you. Whether you like it or not, modernity is increasingly mobile, but have the algorithmic changes of doom that were expected to worry desktop-concerned webmasters into oblivion actually done as much?
Not to that extent it would seem; but, however minuscule the initial impact, now that the digital dust has begun to settle it’s probably a good time to gain some perspective on the damage caused by the day of mobile reckoning.
Preliminary indications suggested that the first big names to be condemned for their lack of responsive design were popular news sharing site Reddit and NBC Sports who were both, according to SearchMetrics, hit by a loss in mobile search visibility of around 28%. On the flip side, there are many sites that have been rewarded for their mobile compatibility with not only a coveted Google ‘Mobile Friendly’ tag, but with increased visibility and a successful surge up the SERPs. The biggest winners are void of many notable names but SearchMetrics provide the full list of the biggest winners and losers.
The update which now determines the mobile compatibility of an entire site by assessing each individual page rather than the website as a whole means that even historic content must be optimised in line with current pages, if you want to avoid falling down the rankings. Does this mean that mobile-friendly sites will rank higher than those which aren’t at the expense of relevant content? In some cases they might, but according to Google, ‘non-mobile-friendly sites won’t disappear from mobile search results—they may still rank high if they hold great content the user wants’.
So, rather than punishment per se, it seems that this latest update was more of a kick up the backside for web publishers.
In a contemporary world where the average user attention span is shorter and everything is demanded quicker, it’s really no surprise that mobile users are more likely to abandon a website for its lack of mobile responsiveness. Indeed, research indicates that 74% of users are more likely to return to a mobile-friendly site, so what more encouragement is needed to convince website owners to create sites that are built to provide a better user experience for the increasing swathe of mobile devices?
Photo credit: Flickr user cosmo_71