22 April 2015 | Team Tamar

#Mobilegeddon: what to expect from the latest Google update

mobilegeddon explosion

It’s been long coming, and finally, here it is. For a number of weeks now, Google has given webmasters regular advice on how to optimise for mobile search, having announced a big upcoming change back in February.

At last, the much-anticipated mobile-friendly update went live yesterday. Nicknamed Mobilegeddon by industry experts, the update will affect searches in all languages. It will also no doubt have a few SEOs holding their breath – and keeping a close eye on their analytics. Here are a few questions you might have.

How can I prepare for it?

There are plenty of Google tools to check mobile friendliness, including the recently available mobile friendly tool. The page speed tool also has a mobile feature. It’s also worth regularly checking your webmaster tools notifications. Other SEO tools like SEMrush have a useful Site audit tool which includes a mobile assessment.

Will it impact my entire SEO traffic?

No, the update is a mobile update only. It means mobile friendliness will become a ranking factor in Google’s algorithm. The impact won’t be felt on desktop or tablet search.

How long will it take to have an impact?

Google usually announces updates a few weeks after rolling out, when their impact begins to show. In this case, they have warned webmasters almost 2 months early so they can adapt. Unlike Panda and Penguin, this update is real time. While it’s hard to tell how soon impact will show, Google said it could take a few weeks for roll out to completion.

Can I afford to ignore it?

For one thing, it depends on your industry. If you’re still getting most of your traffic from desktop, the impact will be relatively small to start with. Having said that, mobile has been such a rapidly growing platform over the past few years, there is only so long you can ignore mobile issues. It’s currently estimated that about 60% of online traffic now comes from mobile. Ignore at your own risk.

How many searches will it affect?

Hard to tell. When the Penguin update came out, it affected around 4% of global searches. Panda, arguably the most significant update in recent years changed around 12% of UK searches. Given the size of the mobile search market, one might assume the implications will be even greater this time round.

How do I know if my site is mobile friendly?

Large text to facilitate reading and avoiding having to zoom in and out is a typical feature of a mobile friendly site. Similarly, resizing to fit different screen sizes, easy clickable links and simplified menus are also good indicators. Google also rolled out a mobile friendly label at the end of last year. So if your landing pages display it, you know you’re doing something right.

What does the update say about Google?

In a recent blog post, Google said that ‘As more people use mobile devices to access the internet, our algorithms have to adapt to these usage patterns.’ While previous updates have focused on favouring high quality content and tackling the issue of link farming, it seems Google’s priority is on improving user experience, particularly growing platforms like mobile.

Team Tamar