Search giant Google fired warning shots to all webmasters in February 15 from their official blog, with a forewarning of an update on the 21st April which would significantly impact search results for non-mobile-friendly websites.

Google have recently announced the name of this algorithm update (dubbed Mobilegeddon). This update is expected to have the biggest impact upon search rankings for three years on websites not optimised for mobile devices. The update has also been touted to be more impactful than previous algorithm updates (Panda & Penguin), according to Google’s Zineb Ait Bahajji when speaking at SMX Munich.

Is Google trying to create their perfect version of the web with Mobilegeddon?

Google cares most of all that people keep coming back to use their search engine. To that end they have spent years improving the speed-to-return and relevancy of their results, releasing updates (aka Penguin, Panda) in the process to put an end to spammy SEO tactics designed to dupe the search results, and focusing attention instead on returning high quality and relevant search results.

Mobilegeddon is an algorithm update designed to give preference within Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) to those webmasters presenting websites with high quality content which respond to mobile devices, providing a fluid user experience (UX).

The message from Google is clear, if your website is not optimised for mobile, it is likely that your
search ranking will suffer. Google cares most of all that people keep coming back to use their search
engine. Quality experiences happen when website visitors are presented with a device-specific
experience, hence the requirement for Mobilegeddon.

Should we always listen to Google?

No doubt there are a number of webmasters that have managed to operate effectively over the years with little impact made on their websites from Google updates. A few are noticeable on Twitter, as indicated below:


Could dodging bullets fired from Google be more luck than judgement?

Maybe Google’s former algorithm updates only affected 12% (Panda) or 4% (Penguin) of all global search queries, however Mobilegeddon is anticipated to affect close to 40% of mobile search queries. With these stats being mentioned, it’s worth sitting up and paying attention.

The statistics on mobile usage are quite damning, with more people now using their mobiles to browse the internet rather than desktops.

Many digital marketing professionals and web analysts will have also noticed the % increases from mobile devices through analytics in recent years. Although numbers and percentages of sessions (visits) vary from site to site, the example below shows a 37% hike in visits from mobile devices over the course of just a few months compared to 2014, further substantiating this trend.


Is the argument for responsive stronger than ever?

When looking at the maths, the numbers and percentages are clearly stacked towards average increases in website visits being driven by mobile devices year on year. Whilst non-responsive sites can still generate traffic increases, bounce and exit rates will also continue to rise from mobile devices due to the user experience being hampered when reaching non-responsive sites.

Who wants to fiddle around by pinching and zooming on mobile screens to view websites any longer? The beauty of a responsive website is that a website can automatically render on a mobile device, seamlessly transitioning a desktop site to mobile upon one click to enter a website. The more technology develops and the quicker the internet becomes, the resulting outcome will inevitably be higher rates of impatient consumers leaving websites which don’t meet their expectations.

Whilst the eventual outcome of Mobilegeddon has yet to be established, the findings look set to negatively impact the search positions of websites that have not yet switched across to a responsive design. The advice? Adopt a responsive design to improve user experiences (UX) and website conversions.