This was the week of the announced Google mobile update. The update has been dubbed “Mobilegeddon” in the SEO industry, but up until today, it wasn’t exactly living up to expectations. The idea though, is very simple: if your website isn’t deemed mobile friendly, it won’t rank as well in mobile search results (which, in itself, seems like a no-brainer).
In their post about Mobilegeddon earlier this week, SearchMetrics showed some data for earlier experiments they’d seen. Those changes looked to be pretty dramatic in the mobile SERPs, showing a comparison between Monster.com and Indeed.
SearchMetrics uses a ranking called “Visibility” which is, simply explained, a computation of the traffic for a group of keywords and a site’s ranking for those keywords. Each keyword gets a value, and all the values of all the keywords a site ranks for are added up. This metric makes it possible to compare sites, between each other and from week to week. Earlier this week SearchMetrics unveiled their new Mobile search visibility numbers.
I reached out today to Marcus Tober, SearchMetrics’ CEO (disclosure: he’s also a long time industry friend of mine). Up until now, those visibility numbers were almost completely the same as the desktop numbers, but they’re starting to vary by a lot now, indicating Mobilegeddon is truly starting. As of the time of publishing of this post, the only data they have live is for Germany, but their US data is expected soon.
A good example is onlinekosten.de, which looks horrible on mobile:
Then compare it to check24.de, it’s biggest & mobile friendly competitor:
How important is ranking in mobile search?
Whether mobile search is important, hugely important or incredibly important for your business depends on the market you’re in. Numbers differ but it seems in most western countries 50-60% of searches is conducted on a mobile device now, with that number rising every year. Not ranking well in those search results as a result of this Mobilegeddon update means you’re not ranking well for the majority of people searching. In large portions of Africa and Asia, mobile search is even bigger.
Of course, the more location dependent your business is, the more important mobile search becomes. For restaurants, bars, shops etc., the impact of this change is hard to dismiss. If you’re a toy shop, ranking #1 or #5 for “toy shop” in your area could seriously impact your site’s traffic.
Will Mobilegeddon impact desktop search?
This Mobilegeddon update will probably not impact desktop search directly. But Google is known to use click through rate (CTR) from the search results as a ranking factor, which I’m guessing would be impacted by this change. Also: if 50% of searches happen on mobile, it’s a major discovery method. People can only share URLs amongst them, link to those sites etc., when they’ve found your site. This ties back to rankings, so this will impact desktop search quite heavily in the long run.
What to do if your site isn’t mobile friendly
So, if you’re scared now, you’ll want to know what to do if your site isn’t mobile friendly. In the post Thijs wrote when Google announced this change, we gave some simple tips to make your site mobile friendly. Use them. If you’re unsure about what to do, order a site review and we’ll be happy to give you tips & tricks specific to your site.
Note: this post was edited about an hour after being published to remove a reference to Huffington Post, as it wasn’t clear they redirect to their .com domain for mobile. Onlinekosten.de and check24.de where added instead.