Mobilegeddon 2016

Mobilegeddon 2016: Should You Be Concerned?

Two days ago Google finally rolled out their second version of their mobile-friendly update (source). Should you be concerned?

Well first off, version #1 (May 2015) wasn’t as disastrous as most SEOs warned it would be (source)…as I predicted in an Investment Executive article last year (source).

And to be honest, I don’t expect this one to be disastrous either. I’m not saying there won’t be some shake up…but again I don’t think it’ll be “Mobilegeddon” like almost the entire SEO industry was professing last year.

Here’s my rationale: Google is not going to roll out an update that will make their search results worse. They are looking to increase their user experience/satisfaction and deliver the results that are best suited to the search query and searcher. The mobile-friendly update is designed to do just that. Improve the results for mobile users. But, are all top quality sites mobile-friendly at this point? Many are, but many are not as well. So, if the update dramatically lowered the ranking for all non-mobile-friendly sites it would remove many of the best answers to their users questions from mobile search results…which would lower their user satisfaction.

I do think year after year Google will make mobile-friendliness (and probably equally or more importantly mobile user metrics like bounce rate) a more and more important ranking factor in mobile results…but I do not think the incremental change from update to update will ever be crazy dramatic/aggressive. It will likely increase in importance as the adoption of mobile-friendliness increases across a set of trusted sites (authority sites, government sites, etc.). The importance as a ranking factor may increase slightly faster than overall mobile-friendly adoption, but not dramatically.

Now, I am not saying you shouldn’t worry about whether your site is mobile friendly…in fact I strongly believe you should focus on making your site as mobile-friendly as possible. I’m just saying the primary reason should not be your Google rankings. It should be your visitors.

I bet if you look at your analytics stats you’ll see that more than 50% of your traffic comes from mobile devices. Many sites have 60% or more! And, this is only going to get more and more weighted towards mobile over time…

Yet, almost every site is designed for desktop and then, even if mobile-friendly, offer a less than amazing mobile-user experience. Which is very evident when you look at the conversion rate on most sites for mobile vs desktop.

All this said, first thing you should do is look at your stats for mobile vs desktop users. If you see a huge discrepancy in user metrics (bounce rate, time on site, pages per visit, conversion rate, etc.) I’d strongly consider looking at improving your user experience for mobile users…and in the process you will likely make your site “mobile-friendly” in the eyes of Google, which can only benefit your mobile rankings going forward!

What are you seeing with your mobile visitors? Leave a comment below…