Mobigeddon – Were You Left Behind in Google’s Rapture?

Mobigeddon – Were You Left Behind in Google’s Rapture?

Eighteen months ago on, April 21st 2015, Google’s version of an apocalyptic level event occurred; Mobigeddon. This event was the Search Engine equivalent of the Rapture, where all mobile friendly sites were lifted to the top of Google’s mobile search results and all non-friendly sites were left behind. Needless to say, this event caused some volatility in the global rankings for keywords and even now some companies have still failed to jump on the band waggon.

Finding out where you stand post-Mobigeddon

A really simple way to test if a site is among the former or the latter in Google’s opinion is this scanner URL

Step 1, enter a website URL.

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Step 2, see how the site fares.

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If considered mobile friendly, the site will appear in a mobile search on Google.

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Why Google did this

Other websites won’t be so fortunate if they aren’t responsive. The reason mobile has come to the forefront of Google’s plans can be seen in internet usage statistics for 2016:

“There are more mobile internet users than desktop internet users; 52.7% of global internet users access the internet via mobile, and 75.1% of U.S. internet users access the internet via mobile.” (hostingfacts.com)

Some other useful statistics from xen.com are that:

  • 94% of people that own a smartphone use it to search for local information
  • 77% of mobile searches are carried out in the office or at home, so smartphone users don’t just search when on the move
  • 72% of people who search for local information visit a store within 5 miles
  • 50% of those who search for local information on their phone visit a store within a day

Further reasoning for Google’s decision comes from this interesting statistic which arrived in my inbox today.

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This was coupled with a further testing tool you might want to try out. By doing this, you have access to a free report from Google that details a list of improvements that need to be made to your site in order to perform better in terms of mobile search, mobile speed and desktop speed.

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What can be done about it?

This is bad news for many smaller businesses who may not have the budget to completely redevelop their sites responsively. This belief is most likely the reason that many are still running unresponsive sites post-Mobigeddon. There are however, two simple improvements that can be made to greatly assist how websites appear in mobile SEO rankings.

Accelerated Mobile Pages

If you are running WordPress, the first is to install a plugin called Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). This plugin is really simple to use and “is an an open source initiative that aims to provide mobile optimised content that can load instantly everywhere.”

All posts on your site will then have dynamically generated AMP-compatible versions, accessible by appending /amp/ to the end your post URLs (e.g. www.example.com would become www.example.com/amp). In doing so they will register as mobile friendly in the post-Mobigeddon Google search results.

That’s it. Done. You now have some form of mobile recognised site and will perform better in mobile searches. Don’t be fooled, you get what you pay for. So whilst this is a cheap substitute, you will by no means have the same quality of site as a company that had a responsive site setup.

Mobile call to action

Another way to improve a site’s performance, more specifically conversions from mobile, is to have a click to call button. This way users don’t need to mess around with copy and paste or a pen and paper. Measuring the increase in conversion rates is a tricky science, as how do you know how many people called or got in contact after Googling you? Either way, these two sites (Nieltpatel and Unbounce) give examples of how to use these buttons effectively and boast dramatic statistics about just how effective these buttons are.

In order to implement one of these, you will likely need to consult a developer, although this is a minor job and shouldn’t be costly (especially if it is included in a redesign). Please contact us if we can help with this.

Other developments

The previous two suggestions are less developer intensive, option three consists backend improvements that will optimise your site. For examples of these, take a look at the free Google report mentioned above. Although, don’t be surprised if there is jargon like:

  • Eliminate render-blocking JavaScript and CSS in above-the-fold content;
  • Minify Javascript;
  • Minify CSS;
  • Leverage browser caching; etc.

Final thought

Before you think that not having a mobile site won’t affect search performance, take a look at these sites which were affected by Mobigeddon and consider the impact it could be having on your business.

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Stephen Collins