One Month After Mobilegeddon: The Results May Surprise You

Ranking websites on their mobile friendliness initially sounds like a sort of internet facelift. Smartphone use continues to skyrocket its way to the forefront of humankind’s most-utilized tech devices, keeping consultants and experts on their toes while they search for the next best SEO strategy. It’s downright silly for businesses of any kind to ignore this trend.

Yet Google’s algorithmic changes implemented April 21 still caused some major internet ruckus. Websites that didn’t fit the new “mobile ready” standards were lowered in Google’s search ranking, while those who did received a bump. Essentially, this meant a reshuffling of search hit sites, all happening in nanoseconds.

Yet now that the storm is over and the pixelated waters have settled, how many waves did Mobilegeddon really make? Just how many websites were truly affected? It’s time to clear the water.

Bigger may really be better

Google itself defined mobile-friendly sites as those that hit the following marks:

  • Avoids software that doesn’t render well on common mobile devices.
  • Uses text that is readable without zooming.
  • Sizes content to the screen properly without having to scroll horizontally.
  • Places links far enough apart so that the correct link can be easily tapped.

Not surprisingly, Fortune 500 companies and their websites weathered Mobilegeddon the best. With the funds and fuel already in their pockets, companies such as Facebook, Intel, and Amazon long ago geared their sites to be mobile-friendly.

Likewise, even six out of the top 10 government sites passed the mark. Only the IRS’ website flubbed (but honestly, who wants to look at the IRS’ website, anyway?).

Mid-size means mid-transition

SEO experts speculated that in first few days, websites would see an influx or loss of around 50 users a day as the algorithm did its thing. However, this begets the question of where those users came from to begin with.

Most businesses – particularly the small-to-mid-size variety – rely on Google searches to make the public aware of their existence. Craving pancakes while visiting your sister in Duluth? Google “pancake houses, Duluth area” and boom, directions to Fred’s Flapjacks sits at your fingertips.

But if a website’s traffic wasn’t organic like the example above (such as paid SEO hits), changes from Mobilegeddon probably felt more like Zerogeddon. Furthermore, given the relatively simple requirements Google laid out to be mobile friendly (readable text size, vertical rather than horizontal scrolling), most sites already hit these benchmarks by the sheer styles of today’s website design.

Though not everything is fine and dandy

Hit the hardest from Mobilegeddon has been specialty private sector fields, websites like ad agencies or consulting firms that read beautifully on a full desktop but simply aren’t built for a phone. It’s not entirely their fault. The very nature of their business calls for spatial aesthetics and attention to scope, not the casual internet peruser.

Bing? Yahoo? Where are they in all this?

Those other search engines (yes, the ones you typically use as punch lines with fellow SERP nerds) seem to have adopted the strategy of hanging low. And it may be working, especially for Bing. February, March, and April saw the search engine garner its highest market share ever, reporting over 30% of search activity. Yay Bing! You go, Bing!

Yahoo, however, continues to lick up the crumbs. Its search engine woes began long before Mobilegeddon and Bing Ascension, and even their Mozilla Firefox deal earlier in the year couldn’t save them.

But wait! There’s more!

As if web maestros weren’t anxious enough, Google has rolled in a couple more changes to its SERP features. Alright, take a deep breath. You can do this. Ready?

Say goodbye to URLS and hello to emojis.

That’s right, Mobilegeddon also changed the very text and images we’ll be seeing in our mobile searches. By dropping domains, SERPs will now only have the real names of websites visible, theoretically problematic for sites that share similar titles or names but differentiated themselves through their domains. Your bad, Google.

The inclusion of emojis will be implemented by both Bing and Google, acting as icons businesses can add into their SEO titles. Seems a little campy, but could catch on given the almost absurd popularity of them from texting to tweets.

We’re a little past the one-month mark of Mobilegeddon, and for most websites, it came and passed without much hoorah. Given its apocalyptic title, this struck many as both odd and opportune–thought altogether, it seems like we may have survived. Give yourself a pat on the back.

A glaring takeaway remains, however. It has become blatantly clear mobile usage is the way of the future, with mega-companies like Google forging its destiny. Ready or not, that’s a storm that can’t be stopped.