According to MediaPost, 85% of internet users around the world use Google’s popular search engine, giving businesses plenty of reason to focus their online marketing efforts on the site. However, new changes to Google’s search algorithms are taking effect this week, causing mobile-friendly websites to rank higher than those which prefer more traditional browsing habits. Now, many business are tweaking their websites to prepare for what many in the media are calling “Mobilegeddon.”
Google first announced that they would be changing their algorithm in November, but the development finally started taking effect on Tuesday, April 21. As a result, companies who haven’t optimized their sites for mobile usage will likely see a drop in their web traffic over the next few days. In a recent article, USA Today estimated that as many as 40% of websites could be affected by the change.
Mobile-friendly websites avoid software like Flash, which can’t be used on phones, feature layouts that automatically scale to the size of the device, and have placed their links in such a way that they can easily be navigated with a touch screen. Businesses can test their mobile-readiness by using Google’s mobile test, which will evaluate the website and offer a preview of what the site will likely look like on a smartphone.
In the months before the change took effect, the inbound marketing company Moz studied 10,000 search queries and found that 70% of sites were listed as mobile-friendly, more than many industry professionals expected. However, the remaining 30% could see severe consequences, especially given how many users now search on their smartphones and mobile devices instead of computers. While search results on laptops and desktops will likely look the same, rankings for the same companies could look drastically different on mobile devices if websites have failed to prepare for the algorithm change.
Despite the sudden shift in their industry, however, many search engine optimization experts are calling Google’s decision a necessary development, with some even calling it overdue. As the world increasingly uses multiple screens to complete a variety of everyday tasks, it is important that businesses ensure that their content translates to every device if they are too remain effective and appeal to customers. With Mobilegeddon in full effect, it is clear that inbound marketing strategies simply aren’t complete without mobile optimization.