It's no secret that Google regularly updates its search engine algorithm; however, with the roll out of the search giant's mobile friendly update in April of 2015, many businesses panicked, dubbing the name for this algorithm enhancement 'Mobilegeddon.'
So now that a little bit of time has passed since Google updated its algorithm to give preference to website designs that have been optimized for mobile viewing, we thought we would take a look to see how actual businesses have been impacted.
If you recall, Google said the recent algorithm change would have a "significant impact" on mobile search results, causing businesses that have not optimized their website design for mobile viewing to plummet in rankings. But what did Google mean by "significant impact?" According to a study shared by TechCrunch, as much as 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies had websites that would be impacted by the algorithm update. No wonder people were calling this event Mobilegeddon!
But has it actually been that bad?
The first survey of Mobilegeddon's effect on small businesses was recently released, and the study was conducted over a 4 day span surveying 2,000 businesses with 50 employees or less. Of the respondents from this survey, 41 percent experienced a drop in search rankings in at least 3 places.
While you might say, "41 percent? That's right in line with the impact that experts were predicting, right?" The shocker here is that 27 percent of those websites affected actually had taken the appropriate measures to make sure that their website design was mobile friendly according to Google's standards.
So how is it possible to have a website design that has been optimized for mobile viewing, yet still be falling in rankings due to Google's latest algorithm update?
First of all, there are three basic ways that SMBs can revamp their website design to be mobile friendly. One way is to create a separate mobile website specifically for mobile browsing; however, this entails having a separate URL and the added cost of a second website entirely. Another way that SMBs are catering to their mobile viewers is to create an app for their website, although this may not be the smartest investment for every business. A third and better way that businesses are making their website design mobile friendly is through responsive website design, which just uses one URL and automatically adjusts the design and content to provide an optimum viewing/browsing experience from any device used (PC, smartphone, tablet, etc).
While it's not been directly said, most would agree that Google's latest algorithm update gives preference to websites with responsive design. So, therefore, even if several of the surveyed businesses have fallen in search rankings despite their efforts to be mobile friendly, their choice of path to mobile friendly website design may be impacting their rankings.
There are also over 200 other factors that play into how Google ranks a website that may be causing a business's ranking to decline. With that in mind, solely focusing on becoming mobile friendly should not be your only priority when tweaking your SEO strategy.
Funny but true, staying in tune with Google's frequent algorithm updates can be a full time job. When you're running a business, you don't always have the time and resources to dedicate to constantly staying up-to-date with what is happening in the digital marketing arena. That's why so many businesses are choosing to outsource their website design and SEO strategy to a professional agency that strictly deals with this line of work.
If reading this has caused you some concern about your own website's ranking post-Mobilegeddon, I highly encourage you to take Google's mobile friendly test and review your analytics from recent weeks.