I previously wrote about the Mobile Friendly changes being made in an article dramatically titled Is Your Website Mobile Friendly? Countdown to Mobilegeddon! And yes, in the weeks leading up to the change, there was literally a countdown to the mobile apocalypse.
Given that 21st April came and went without turning the world upside down and inside out, I thought it warranted another look to see if we missed something.
There’s been a lot of speculation about why this mobile friendly update didn’t live up to the hype (or threats). So what happened? Did everyone miss the point or what?
❝ This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results ❞
Source: Google Webmaster Central Blog
To be fair, many companies had their fingers burned by Panda and Penguin updates. So when google announced changes for mobile friendly websites and described it by saying “This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results”. It was a warning not to be taken lightly.
Previously the Panda and Penguin updates had been implemented to clean-up search results by getting rid of duplicate content, bad back-linking and a lot of other “black hat” or closing loopholes in various SEO techniques. And they did a great job. As a result, we all enjoy better quality search results to help find answers to our daily questions.
But this is where the ‘mobile friendly‘ update was very different. Instead of focusing on the validity of your content, the mobile friendly update was looking at the usability of your website.
The Results – (so far)
We haven’t really seeing any devastating changes to first-page results, but some SE specialists claim they have tracked significant changes among further down the results lists (a few pages in).
Web sites with separate mobile and desktop websites have also noticed a shift in which of their sites are displayed in mobile search results compared to desktop searches (which makes sense).
Needless to say, it’s not what everyone was expecting. But there’s probably a good reason for this.
If you own or manage a site that provides the best answers or information on a subject that people are searching for, then obviously Google will want to connect those users with the information on your website, regardless of how it’s presented.
To do anything else would have devalued their own service. If you have a mobile-friendly option of your website then you should see a significant difference in which sites are displayed to users.
What happened to mobilegeddon?
It’s been theorized that in the lead up to activation, Google decided that the effects would have been too dramatic and decided to tone things down a little. While this sounds like a nice (warm and fuzzy) idea, it’s unlikely as they have been tracking mobile friendly websites for some time and would be well aware of the impact before even making the announcement. Although they may have expected more reaction from website owners.
I find it more telling that no one from Google jumped in to apply a little perspective to the situation. But then again why would they? They have already stated that mobile usability will be a factor when calculating results. So I expect we’ll see more emphases in this area further down the line.
It also has to be understood that there will always be an advertising revenue factor to these decisions. Google have been promoting the use of multiscreen websites through their AdSense feature for some considerable time.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that with the increase of mobile usage, the effectiveness of unoptimized ads within non-mobile-friendly websites needed to be addressed. Google Adwords would also benefit from increasing numbers of mobile friendly websites. Think about it. If your website fails to convert mobile visitors, would you opt out of any mobile specific ad display options? Yes, you probably would.
❝ As small business owner, does it really matter why they made the changes? Probably not. What matters most is how these changes relate to your business, now and in the future. ❞
Lets Focus On What We Do Know
Instead of trying to speculate what’s going on behind closed doors, let’s take a step back and look at what we do know.
The first two points should be all you need to convince you on the importance of a mobile friendly website. But if you’re still on the fence, think about this for a minute. Is it too hard to imagine that Google would eventually attribute even greater value to websites that compliment their own usability standards. And when old (mobile unfriendly) website starts to affect Googles ability to sell advertising, there will be no surprised faces when those sites quickly disappear into obscurity.
So After All That. Do You Really Need a Mobile Friendly Website?
Whether you update your website for your customers benefit or because Google say you should. If your website plays an active part in your business, your site needs to be mobile friendly. It’s as simple as that.
Clearly Yes! So if you have not already made the move to a mobile friendly solution and you have a business related website. You should definitely make the change sooner rather than later.
On the other hand, if you have a hobby site that is not monetised in any way then there’s no immediate rush. You’re site clearly isn’t going to disappear overnight. But then again why wouldn’t you want to make you pages look great when viewed on a mobile device? Who knows, you may even decide to make your hobby into your business on day.
If you’re thinking about making your website mobile friendly there are many more benefits than just keeping up with Google and improving your visitors experience that you get from updating your website.
We develop business websites that put you in control. With minimal training you can add, edit all aspects of your website, from creating new pages to updating contact information and forms. You don’t need to know how to code or have any technical knowledge at all. We do all the hard work organising the structure and design to make sure it looks amazing to ensure you make the right first impression for your visitors.
If you’d like to know more you can request a free website review or call us at +66 872 827 483 and see what we can do for you.
What is your take on Mobilegeddon?
Do you think the mobile friendly update was to improve visitor usability or to protect and improve advertising revenue on mobile devices? And does the reason change the outcome in any way?