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Google Mobile Update: Assessing The Winners & Losers Of ‘Mobilegeddon’

By Unknown, blog post 12/05/2015

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It’s been just over three weeks since Google released its new mobile-friendly algorithm, labelled by many as ‘Mobilegeddon’. Now as the dust starts to settle, online marketers and businesses around the world are stepping out of their bunkers to assess the damage caused by this apocalyptically-dubbed update. If you haven’t already done the same, it is vitally important that you do so immediately so that you know the effect on your business.

What Is Mobilegeddon?

Before Google released their new mobile update on 21 April, we posted this blog highlighting the importance of ensuring your website was mobile-friendly by this date.

However if you’re late to the party, here’s what you need to know. In short, Google’s latest algorithm update is designed to penalise webpages in mobile search results that aren’t mobile-friendly, while providing a boost to those that are. The update has earned the name Mobilegeddon because it is expected to adversely affect millions of business websites that currently have webpages which are not properly optimised for mobile search.

The Winners And Losers

Before releasing the update, Google suggested that their new mobile-friendly algorithm could take a while to roll out fully. For this reason, you might not notice any changes for a few days or even weeks after 21 April.

Nonetheless, just four days after the release of the update, the Searchmetrics blog released analysis of the biggest winners and losers of Mobilegeddon – and the results are very interesting.

One of the biggest winners is foreignaffairs.com, who has seen their mobile SEO visibility increase by a massive 771%, while gq.com and quora.com have both enjoyed an increase of 67% and 13% respectively.

While on the flip side, reddit.com and nbcsports.com have both seen their mobile SEO visibility drop by nearly 30%. And when websites the size of Reddit and NBC are feeling the full wrath of this mobile update, you can be sure that smaller business websites are as well.

Our First-hand Experience Of Mobilegeddon

By comparing analytics data for all our clients, we have gained first-hand knowledge of how Google’s update has affected a wide selection of businesses, both positively and negatively.

The Un-Friendlies

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Above: by comparing data from the week before and the week after the update, many of our clients who failed to make their website mobile-friendly in time have seen both their conversion rate and revenue fall significantly.

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Above: a client that implemented their mobile site incorrectly also experienced a sizeable drop in traffic the week after the update hit. Once the mobile site was fixed, their traffic increased greatly.

The Friendlies

Conversely, several of our clients who made a substantial effort to get their website mobile-friendly in time have enjoyed spectacular results.

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Above: one of our clients saw a massive 27% increase in organic traffic in the week after the mobile update.

In addition, one client more than doubled their conversion rate and revenue because of changes they implemented in anticipation of Mobilegeddon. While another of our clients who recently built a new and mobile-friendly website enjoyed a healthy percentage increase in revenue.

How Can You Measure The Impact To Your Business?

In our previous post on this subject, we suggested that you use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to test whether your website is mobile-friendly. This tool is easy to use and provides a checklist of things you need to change to get your website optimised for mobile search.

However, if you require more information, you can use Google Analytics to access relevant information about your website’s mobile performance. To keep things simple, you will need to look at the Mobile Traffic Overview Report in the Audience section, which you can find in the menu on the left-hand side of the Google Analytics interface.

In this report you will see traffic data from mobile and tablet sources, as well as desktop. In the top right-hand corner, you will be able to change the date range of the data presented. Select the date range as 21 April to the current date. Then tick the ‘compare to’ box to evaluate how the data differs to a period of similar length just before the update. If there has been a sharp decline in the volume of traffic, the chances are you have been negatively affected by the recent Google mobile update.

What Can You Do?

If you have been affected by the mobile update, the only way to claw back your mobile rankings is to ensure you have a mobile-friendly website.  The good news, however, is that unlike previous Google updates like Panda and Penguin, the algorithm of this update runs in real time. Therefore, taking action now can make an immediate difference to your website.

To talk to us about performing a rework of your website’s structure and navigation for mobile search, call Wayne or Mark on 0845 838 0936, or get in touch via our contact form. Alternatively, to get a taste of what else we offer, take a look at our services page now.