Mobilegeddon: What We Know so Far

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Jay Dillon

Director of Strategy and Creative at Inbound Experts
Jay is a digital marketer and producer whose creative and technical skills have developed digital brand strategies and sales campaigns using a range of complex internet applications from stand-alone websites through to Facebook API integrations.
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It wasn’t a comet, worldwide plague or flood of epic proportions.

But listening to the marketing media world tell it, Google’s mobile search algorithm update on April 21 was right up there with these violent natural disasters.

The update even received its own sensationalised name in the blogosphere: “Mobilegeddon.” BBC reported that Mobilegeddon would be the biggest Google algorithm change in years. Business Insider quite dramatically reported that Mobilegeddon could “crush millions of small businesses.”

Despite the hype, now that Mobilegeddon is here, there’s a good chance that you might not have noticed a difference in your search results. That’s because the update only impacted Google’s mobile search algorithm, and it probably didn’t have as big of an impact as you might think.

Let’s take a look at the results of Mobilegeddon so far and what marketers should do to improve mobile visibility now that it has come and gone.

How have search rankings been impacted thus far?

At the time of writing, it’s been a couple of weeks since Mobilegeddon was officially rolled out. Remember, however, that in their initial Mobilegeddon announcement on the Webmaster Central Blog, Google only said that the changes would start on April 21. Realistically speaking, it could take weeks or even months for the full impact of the algorithm update to become apparent.

However, initial data seems to paint a consistent picture of the changes thus far: few sites have seen serious changes, except for a couple major sites that have seen significant jumps.

According to Search Engine Land, sites with the biggest increases in mobile include the Wired blog and the major American media publication Foreign Affairs. Sites that have gone down in ranking since Mobilegeddon include Reddit and Bloomberg.

From a logical standpoint, one of the key things to remember is that companies who were already pursuing mobile optimisation before Mobilegeddon most likely already had a strong mobile presence, meaning they have nothing to worry about. Philip Petrescu at Advanced Web Ranking reported that the top 20 results for most mobile searches have not been affected much by Mobilegeddon. Additionally, AWR found that on average, mobile-friendly websites only went up 12% in visibility after Mobilegeddon.

Taken together, this information means that most marketers who are already mobile-savvy probably shouldn’t be too concerned about Mobilegeddon. However, if your mobile efforts to this date have been lacking, it’s now more important than ever to get going on mobile marketing initiatives.

How to optimise your site for mobile search

There are a few key ways to optimise your organisation’s website to receive more mobile traffic:

  • Format your content the right way. Mobile users tend to prefer text-based websites that have content spaced out sufficiently. And although conventional wisdom often holds that long-form content is better for inbound marketing, if you want to optimise a website for mobile users, keep your content concise. A person with a mobile device usually has limited time: they might be waiting for public transit or killing time before a doctor’s appointment. This means marketers need to engage them quickly, before they focus on their next task or responsibility
  • Use website structures from schema.org. As a part of their mobile algorithm update, Google also announced that they would be changing the way that they display mobile website domains. Instead of the page URL, users will now see a “breadcrumb” trail that shows them the location of a specific page within its larger site. Proper on-page schema markup can help your site stand out from your mobile competitors
  • Make your call to actions bigger and more clickable. People on mobile devices are dealing with a much smaller screen and might be walking or riding a bus or train while reading your content. Make it easy for them to find what they need and click on it, whether your CTA is a number to your store or a mobile commerce platform

Mobilegeddon might have a dramatic name, but its results probably will not be as pronounced as the media would like you to think. With proper attention paid to your mobile optimisation, you will find that your website will do just fine when it comes to attracting your target audience.

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