Earlier this year, Google rolled out a major change in its search algorithm in order to better display results on mobile queries. Mobile-friendly URLs started to appear higher up on the results pages, creating an outrage among some, and overjoy among others. An event many bloggers around the techsphere soon started to call "Mobilegeddon". I did not know what to make of this at the time, and all that was left for me to do was wait and see.
A few months have passed, and now that the dust has cleared, you're probably wondering: How did my rankings change after the Google mobile update?
First things first — what exactly did Google change?
On April 21st, Google set out to boost the ranking of mobile-friendly pages on mobile search results. This way, users could have an easier access to websites specifically designed with mobile devices in mind. These websites offer features such as: text that is readable without tapping or zooming, appropriately spaced tap targets and avoidance of horizontal scrolling or unplayable media.
In layman’s terms, the update was Google’s wake up call to the whole internet — We’re in 2015, the number of smartphone users worldwide will surpass 2 billion in 2016, and it’s about time brands catered to the mobile crowd by offering better mobile experiences.
I wasn't at all surprised by this move at all. In the words of Bob Dylan:
The times, they are a-changing.
There’s no need to worry though, the Google update only affected mobile search results. We soon found out that if a website had a good ranking in desktop searches, they’d mostly still be up there.
The data speaks for itself
The fact of the matter is that smartphone users are depending more on their devices than on their desktop computers, and it’s a trend that’s slowly rising. Google recently announced that mobile searches outrank desktop searches in 10 countries, including the US and Japan, and a study conducted by BrandingBrand revealed that from a list of one hundred mobile-friendly websites, 28 percent of all online revenue originated from mobile devices. The writing’s on the wall. More and more people are going mobile and not just that but also the shopping customs are changing - people are getting used to entering their credit cards while browsing on internet on their mobile phones.
After learning about these updates and changes, you must think you have your work cut out for you — this is true, but the good news is that you’re not alone. Websites like Reddit, USPS.gov, songlyrics.com, walmartstores.com and NBCsports.com reported huge drops in their online search rankings.
However, these are not the only major companies whose websites didn’t make the cut, since over 40 percent of Fortune 500 websites are not mobile-friendly. This might not be a hopeful statement, but it means you still have time to update your website and regain the lost traffic or attain the traffic that is left on the table.
Getting on the horse
Once you’ve done the necessary tweaks, you’ll want to test if your website is seen as mobile-friendly. There are a few ways to do it. Google offers a Mobile-Friendly Test for individual pages, but if you want to do a thorough check, the Mobile Usability report is the tool for you.
As soon as your site passes this friendliness test, Google will automatically re-process your website and it will most probably properly show up on the result pages in 72 hours or less. But that's not the end of the story. Sure, you updated your website and now it’s online-friendly, but how can you maximize your profits? There's much more you can do with applying some simple changes to your website and monitoring how your rankings change on the search engines. RankTrackr can help you easily track how your rankings appear on mobile and desktop devices, which will give you insights into how more customers can find you online, and how you can better deliver your message.
In the ever-evolving world of online marketing, you must be willing to adapt to the ever emerging trends in order to achieve success. As Sir Albert Einstein said:
"The measure of intelligence is the ability to change".