Google’s “Mobilegeddon” is on its way

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).

Not sure what Mobilegeddon is? In the video, I explain what Mobilegeddon is, why it was created and what the consequences of this update are.

What is ‘Mobilegeddon’?

As explained in the video, the Mobile Update gives mobile-friendly sites a ranking advantage in Google’s mobile search results. With searches from mobile devices increasing to over 50%, Google won’t send those mobile searchers to websites with a bad mobile site.

Impact of Mobilegeddon

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 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, which looks horrible on mobile:

Mobile visibility takes a huge drop due to Mobilegeddon

Then compare it to, it’s biggest & mobile friendly competitor:

Mobile visibility increases, making it a Mobilegeddon winner

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 our post about mobile-friendly sites and SEO, we gave some simple tips to make your site mobile friendly. Use them.

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. and where added instead.

Read more: A brief history of Google’s algorithm updates »

39 Responses to Google’s “Mobilegeddon” is on its way

  1. Buka Info
    Buka Info  • 9 years ago

    Thank you for the info, I have some problems with some of my blog optimization. until now all blogs are alternated each day in the search results. Who knows how it ends

  2. Farcas Gelu Danut
    Farcas Gelu Danut  • 9 years ago

    In my country (Romania), i don’t see any changes.

  3. Davinderbisht
    Davinderbisht  • 9 years ago

    omg again new update from google side My site is effected :(

  4. Deepanker
    Deepanker  • 9 years ago

    i was already prepared for this. So, I found no changes in my SERP.

  5. Jimmy
    Jimmy  • 9 years ago

    I also feel its a bit early but, atleast for the initial step I have a responsive theme on my blog. I am assuming that having a responsive blog theme should be the first step.

  6. e-Commerce
    e-Commerce  • 9 years ago

    We still seen no changes after implementation of that new algo. All we need to to is work hard to use this situation to grow in mobile part of traffic.

  7. juan
    juan  • 9 years ago

    this is my email

  8. juan
    juan  • 9 years ago

    can you help on this dented web

  9. bonus inscription winamax
    bonus inscription winamax  • 9 years ago

    great article. no effect on my website, maybe it’s because i don’t have a lot of traffic from mobile.

  10. Simon Walsh
    Simon Walsh  • 9 years ago

    The new system obviously hasn,t started yet i havn,t noticed any changes in the speed of connection time.
    I am all for moblie friendly servers and heightened availability to access the internet more quickly.

  11. James
    James  • 9 years ago

    There are 7 blogs under my management, this Mobilegeddon is nothing more than Mobile-poof-poof

    Google probably has the data that shows a huge majority of sites are still not mobile friendly, and thus probably they scaled down the possible impact.

    Mobilegeddon? I call that the biggest lie after Y2K.

    • Craig Sennett
      Craig Sennett  • 9 years ago

      I think time will prove you wrong.

      Remember it took time for your sites to acquire your search ranking and of course Googles business model isn’t to execute a load of sites overnight – they aren’t daft. As the weeks become months then people will see the hit and it will continue.

      There is no way Google would have been this blunt and not deliver on what they said they would. When the CTR ratings drop then the traffic will also and eventually mobile loss will affect desktop to a degree.

  12. MAnu Alias
    MAnu Alias  • 9 years ago

    This is an interesting post. Please help me where can I find out in Google Analytic about the mobile friendly impact? Actually I have 6 clients and everyone is going really well, But I wanna know whether there is any impact or not on my clients websites? Please help me guys….


  13. Tatl? Tarifleri
    Tatl? Tarifleri  • 9 years ago

    I didn’t see any improvement yet.The same in the standings, how long do we wait ?

  14. Marco
    Marco  • 9 years ago

    The mobilegeddon is working and my website is going up. Also I have seen good change with all rest of my websites. It is a question of days and some weeks. I m happy with the mobilegeddon because 75% of searches come from mobiles or tablets!

  15. khanesarmaye
    khanesarmaye  • 9 years ago

    Hi Joost
    i have a question is it better to have mobile friendly website like responsive website or a mobile version of our site completely different from orginal website?

    thanks a lot

    • Michiel Heijmans
      Michiel Heijmans  • 9 years ago

      Hi! I’d go for responsive any day of the week. The thing with a mobile website is that you’re actually maintaining two websites and you can do a lot with just some lines of CSS, for instance.

  16. Joe Bray
    Joe Bray  • 9 years ago

    It is early yet, but I haven’t seen any differences on my websites with the mobile issue. So I’m thinking ‘mobilegeddon’ is mostly hype. The same thing happened about 6 months ago with the HTTPS benefit – I didn’t see any actual benefits there either after adding SSL to some of my websites. So I guess that means if my website is both mobile friendly AND https then I’m a lock for the first page ranking. (smile)

  17. Frederick Klein
    Frederick Klein  • 9 years ago

    You can only imagine the dramatic drop in sites that aren’t mobile friendly. I am curious to see how non mobile optimized websites will be affected. ouch!

  18. Sean M.
    Sean M.  • 9 years ago

    Good stuff and thanks for the most recent update. We have not recognized any major changes in local results between us, our competitors and our clients, although we are definitely keeping an eye out for it. This is an interesting/exciting update for us as we are in a great position…our closest competitor…not so much. Thanks again!

  19. Gerardo
    Gerardo  • 9 years ago

    Interesting! Our site is already mobile friendly and our normal site visitors averaged about 500 – 800 monthly, since the change we have received over 800+ unique visitors in the last 12 hours.

    Could this really be connected some how?
    Could google have made other changes that are directing visitors to our website?


  20. Ratchaphol @SMMTIPS
    Ratchaphol @SMMTIPS  • 9 years ago

    Great post as always Yoast! Now i’ve spotted some improvement in serp mobile search, actually this one is really nice update as it will benefit for those who put their effort in concerning of users. And the website that are out-dated and seize the position using the power of its domain would decrease in ranking.

    Do you know any FREE mobile rank tracking? I’ve pro account on SERPBOOK and there is mobile beta for tracking mobile serp. But my friend is new and he is looking for something free. (which i don’t think it’s yet existed now.

  21. fede
    fede  • 9 years ago

    I manage dozens of websites. Some mobile friendly, some not. No change at all. Yes of course, ‘eventually’ mobile-friendly sites will do better, but we already knnew that. Mobilegeddon, as a specific date, and as a dramatic ‘change’ was sheer BS. But we already knew that, didn’t we.

  22. Jay Hoque
    Jay Hoque  • 9 years ago

    Not seen any changes to mobile ranking. Same as Nigel, and most others it seems, I’m also seeing non mobile friendly sites still ranked higher than mobile friendly ones. Will be keeping an eye on this. Thanks for this update Joost.

  23. Nigel Abery
    Nigel Abery  • 9 years ago

    G’day Yoast, interesting post, clearly some changes in some instances. Here in Australia I am yet to see any clear ranking changes due to this. Still seeing mobile unfriendly sites ranking highly on mobile search and above mobile friendly sites. I guess we still need to wait for it to roll out everywhere. It will be great if you can continue to provide updates on this in the future. Cheers!

  24. Adam
    Adam  • 9 years ago

    I personally don’t see any changes, well exept from weird mobile friendy test results :(

  25. Jaki Levy
    Jaki Levy  • 9 years ago

    For those not seeing any changes because your site is already mobile friendly, you have nothing to worry about. Your site’s good to go.

    For those of you waiting for your ranking to go down because google hasn’t caught on yet, well, you’re missing the whole point here. People have been visiting websites on mobile phones for years. If you didn’t care before, and you don’t care now, you shouldn’t be reading this post.

    For everyone else – the people who actually care – hopefully, this small snippet will motivate everyone to get onboard with the existing reality. The world has gone mobile. If you have a website, it should reflect that reality.

    And thanks so much for your persistence and prescience on this issue, Joost! It’s very enlightening to see actual numbers.

  26. Teuku Raja
    Teuku Raja  • 9 years ago

    Thanks For Your Info. Maybe i Need This.

  27. Leena
    Leena  • 9 years ago

    I don’t see any changes. I have 20 blogs under my management. i am using responsive theme but no change in traffic .

    Thanks and Regards,

  28. Leena
    Leena  • 9 years ago

    I don’t see any changes. I have 20 blogs under my management. i am using responsive theme but no change in traffic .

  29. Sebastian
    Sebastian  • 9 years ago

    Joost, is a BAD example and here is why:

    If you visit by mobile phone you will get redirected to which is their mobile site and ranks VERY well.


    First diagram: mobile rankings going down for

    Second diagram: rankings for their mobile site

    Third diagram: both mixed together.

    So right now we cannot clearly say anything about mobilegeddon. ;)

    • Joost de Valk

      You were right, another German friend already pointed me at this too. Just updated it with and, one winner, one loser, which shows it’s very real.

      • Sebastian
        Sebastian  • 9 years ago

        Ah thanks for that.
        And I think we’re all eager to see what really happens with mobilegeddon in the short and long run.

        Your posts are very important; I remember that you talked about not disallowing the css files in the robots.txt almost two months earlier than it was officially a ‘thing’. So I’m always looking with great interest at what you have to say.
        Thanks for your work!

  30. Michelle Bollinger
    Michelle Bollinger  • 9 years ago

    I have not seen any change in local mobile search. I am the only company in my town with a mobile responsive site, and still I am not listed in the number one spot. Very frustrating. I am in America. I hope this will change soon.

    • Joost de Valk

      This might take a while to roll out. Give it a few days.

  31. Ngan
    Ngan  • 9 years ago

    Honestly, I don’t see any changes. I have 7 blogs under my management. Those without responsive or mobile theme has no change in traffic. while those are mobile friendly sees no spike in traffic. so much for mobile seo.

    • Joost de Valk

      Give this some time, the changes will come, really.

      • Ratchaphol @SMMTIPS
        Ratchaphol @SMMTIPS  • 9 years ago

        Ngan @I think the change is real-time, so it would change over time instead of immediately, and you should monitor mainly on the mobile traffic, not desktop and tablet, since this update only affect the mobile searcher.

        • Ngan
          Ngan  • 9 years ago

          Yup, that’s what I did. According to my Google Analytics, there is no increase or decrease in traffic when I plot the graph for ‘mobile’ traffic (excluding tablets).

          Not for 1 site, but for all 7 sites. Judging from the comments dropped by other readers, the situation appears to be the same – no increase or decrees.

          Must be the greatest scare after Y2K

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