Google recently announced that starting April 21st, they would be updating their algorithm and expanding their use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal in search results. Meaning: mobile-friendly sites get preference and non-mobile friendly sites get penalized.
*Cue mass paranoia among digital marketers and dramatic deeming of the event Mobilegeddon*
While companies with optimized sites sat back and soaked up their mobile glory, the non-mobile-friendly sites ran around frantically trying to make whatever changes they could to give their site a temporary fix.
It’s officially been 2 weeks since the algorithm update, so let's go over what’s changed.
Did the update hurt non-mobile sites?
While it’s still a little early to tell how the update has affected general site performance, it’s safe to say there’s been a noticeable decrease in the amount of non-mobile-friendly sites appearing in search results.
Content Marketing Platform BrightEdge surveyed more than 20,000 URLs and found that found that by April 27 (a little under a week after the change) there was a 21% decrease in the number of non-mobile-friendly URLs on the first three SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
Did it help mobile optimized sites?
An early study performed by advancedwebranking.com found a 12% increase in ranking visibility for the mobile-friendly websites compared with their visibility on Google Mobile from a week ago.
Additionally, Google noted that in just the two months since they announced the change, there was a 5% uptick in the proportion of sites that are mobile-friendly, meaning businesses, for the most part, took heed of their warning. Moving forward, that number will only increase as the update really kicks in and non-mobile-friendly sites see the negative effects taking place.
Will the update affect my search performance on Desktop?
No. The change only applies to searches performed on mobile and has no effect on searches from tablets or desktops. It affects searches from mobile devices across all languages and locations.
I’m still not mobile-friendly, should I change that?
YES. There is no question that users now expect a seamless, positive experience on all devices, especially mobile. Usability and design features matter. Mobile users are looking for:
- Information in just one or two clicks
- A search bar that is easy to find and use
- A site that fits the small screen
- Clean and efficient design
- An option to visit the non-mobile site
- The ability to save information for later
- Big, finger-friendly buttons
- Non-scrolling forms with a limited number of fields
- A “click to call” button
- One-direction scrolling, either horizontal or vertical, but not both.
The best way to give them an excellent experience is by optimizing your site for mobile. Google (and iMarc!) recommend Responsive Design Techniques as an industry best practice. But if Google's pro-mobile stance doesn’t convince you, here are some cold, hard stats.
- 60% of Internet access originates from mobile devices
- 94% of people with smartphones search for local information on their phones
- 77% of mobile searches occur at home or at work, places where desktop computers are likely to be present.
- 74% of users say they are more likely to return to a mobile-friendly site.
- There are 182.6 million smartphone users in the U.S. — and that number is forecasted to grow to 220 million by 2018.
- 60% 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.
Okay, you’ve convinced me. But now what?
Do your research, assess your site and get started:
- Find out if your site is mobile-friendly. Take the Mobile-Friendly Test to see if you pass.
- If your website is not mobile-friendly, check out Google's guide to mobile-friendly websites. It's a great place to start and learn about everything from how much a mobile website costs, to top 3 mistakes to avoid when getting started.
Ready to make the move to mobile? Give us a call! We can walk you through your site’s performance, recommend an effective course of action and, of course, help you optimize your site for mobile. We take a mobile-first approach here at iMarc, so everything we do starts and ends with mobile.