Mobilegeddon: What Does It Mean For You?



By now, unless you've been living under a rock, you would have heard about the infamous "Mobilegeddon". Is this really the doomsday it's made out to be for your aging website? In this month's blog, let's delve into what exactly Mobilegeddon is, and how it affects you.

What is Mobilegeddon all about?

Lately there has been quite a lot of media attention on Google's changes to its search rankings for mobile friendly and non-friendly websites. You might recall back in November last year, we posted a blog article about how Google was set to reward mobile-friendly websites in search rankings. It was widely speculated at the time that the rewarding of mobile-friendly sites was just the first volley in an ongoing battle.

Mobilegeddon even spawned its own hashtag on Twitter

The second volley, as expected, is the punishment of websites in search rankings which are not mobile-friendly. In a recent update to their search algorithm, Google has begun to judge how "mobile-friendly" a particular website is, and will now use this metric as weight in search results obtained via mobile devices. Desktop and tablet searches are apparently unaffected.

Why are Google being so mean?

This is actually a great thing that Google is doing. The web these days has fundamentally changed from the web of five years ago. These days, 35% of web traffic comes from mobile devices, and there no longer is any excuse to ignore this significant portion of your users.

Around 35% of web traffic comes from mobile devices

The web isn't just on desktops now, each day more and more people are picking up tablets and phones to browse the web. They need to have an experience which is optimised for their device. Google has decided to use its clout to force those who are dragging their feet to hop on the mobile-friendly bandwagon, for a better user experience.

So what does this mean for my site?

This means that if your website is not correctly optimised for mobile browsing (i.e. if it does not use responsive design, uses fonts that are too small, makes use of Abobe Flash, etc.), your site will be punished in Google search rankings via mobile devices. Essentially, if your site is not responsive, it will suffer in search results and will be deliberately lowered in rankings to make way for sites that use mobile-friendly techniques and design.

Combined with Google's earlier changes to its search algorithm which reward mobile-friendly sites, the future does not look so rosy for your search ranking if your website is more than five years old and uses traditional design.

But, it only affects mobiles, so...

Yes, it is only punished on mobile search results, however, if you ignore this fact, you take a chance on missing out on around 35% of your current search traffic which currently comes from mobile devices. That's a fairly significant chunk, and a figure that cannot be comfortably ignored.

How Google identifies a mobile friendly site in search results

Is it as scary as they say it is?

Well, according to preliminary metrics, no it's not as scary as it sounds. However, the algorithm changes have only been live for a week or so at this stage, and it can take some time for Google's rankings to fine tune themselves. The fact remains though that if you decide not to take action on that old website, then gradually over time your competitors who do make use of mobile-friendly responsive design will slowly start to bubble up above your link in search results. That can't be a good thing.

What can I do to help my ranking?

If your site is using an old, fixed width design, it's going to need to change. Responsive web design is a must for any modern website. Your site needs to detect the device it's being viewed on, and adjust itself accordingly for the correct user experience. Praxis Interactive uses responsive design for ALL projects, and can provide the technologies you need for your website to survive "mobilegeddon". Contact us for a quote today.

Take the mobile-friendly test

Google has also developed a free tool to check the mobile-friendly status of a website. Use the link below and enter your website address and check to see if your site will be affected by the ranking changes:

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