Mobile-geddon: Have You Run Out of Time to Go Mobile?

Last week Google rolled out a new mobile-friendly search update; this long-awaited and much-hyped update has been designed to boost the search rankings of mobile-friendly pages on mobile search results. Back in November 2014, Google rolled out the mobile-friendly tag on mobile search results, and this new update follows in a similar vein. In their latest announcement, Google described the new update as helping searchers “more easily find high-quality and relevant results where text is readable without tapping or zooming, tap targets are spaced appropriately, and the page avoids unplayable content or horizontal scrolling.”

With only one week passed since the update launched, it’s hard to say how much of an impact the change has had on search rankings. Google has said that the update may take time to reach full effect, but there are a few details we already know:

  1. Google will now use the “mobile friendliness” of a page as one of the signals that are used in search ranking.
  2. The update only applies to searches performed on mobile devices.
  3. The update applies to individual pages, not entire websites. So, if the single page or article is mobile-friendly, it can still get the boost, even if the rest of your site is not.

So, what does this update mean for you?

First, don’t panic if you haven’t yet built a mobile site. There are still over 200 signals other than mobile friendliness that Google uses when ranking pages. Remember, this update only applies to mobile users and doesn’t impact desktop searches at all.

Next, check how your site looks to a mobile user. Google has tools like the Mobile-Friendly Test that can help. Make sure you weigh the potential costs vs. benefits of developing a mobile site. For some, it may only require a few adjustments to current settings or templates, but for others it might mean a completely new site design.

Regardless of how your site is designed, what your market segment is, or what your online strategy looks like, Google is sending a strong message with this update: they view mobile search as a different experience from desktops, and are going to give mobile-friendly sites an advantage.

As the team’s “stats guy,” Luke Schoenrock is our go-to staff member for analytics and reporting—as well as witty remarks.