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Mobilegeddon, an update…
In short, if your site didn’t pass their ‘mobile-friendly’ test, you were at risk of plummeting down the mobile rankings into SERP oblivion.
So what were the key factors set to influence Google’s mobile-friendly test?
Mobile viewport not set: If you minimise a responsive site on your PC, you’ll notice that the content on the page scales down and realigns to fit the viewport. Setting a mobile viewport means that content will be scaled to fit a mobile device’s smaller screen too.
Text too small to read: A truly responsive page will rearrange content so that it can be easily viewed within the parameters of the screen it’s occupying. If your mobile site’s viewport isn’t properly configured, a small font will make the information on your page hard to read.
You might also have noticed a small icon of three horizontal lines in the top right hand corner of some mobile pages you visit. This ‘hamburger menu’ is a simpler, condensed version of the usual desktop menu and serves to make navigating on a touchscreen device easier.
Links too close together: When text is too small and links are too close together on a touchscreen device, it can lead to all sorts of issues with navigation around your site, as well as distracting (and probably annoying) visitors, who’ll be likely to leave your page and search elsewhere.
Content wider than screen: If you show a desktop page in a smaller screen, you risk cutting off valuable areas of the content. This means that clients on touchscreen devices will need to spend time pinching and zooming around your site- and may miss key snippets of information.
So, one month on, just how exactly has the mobilegeddon update played out? Were we right to panic, or was it really not worth all the hype?
The first victims
In the first weeks after the update, a few victims were immediately identified by those following the changes. Large, household brands such as Next were brought into the spotlight for failing to meet Google’s mobile-friendly standards.
In fact, figures from SearchMetrics suggest that in the week after the rollout, next.co.uk dropped up to 40% visibility across mobile channels. Here’s what a comparison of keyword searches looks like across their mobile and desktop sites (taken from Google UK):
How have small and medium sized businesses fared?
It’s all well and good to study the fate of a huge household name, but it’s not exactly the best comparison to make to SMEs. We looked across a sample of smaller to medium sized businesses (both B2B and B2C) to get a more accurate reading of how they’ve been affected by these changes, and they didn’t seem to have suffered to the extent the initial hype suggested they would.
How is Google treating SMEs?
Although there’s no doubt that Google’s update has started to affect mobile rankings across the board, it’s certainly not been the apocalyptic change many predicted it to be (which made it deserving of the name mobilegeddon in the first place).
It appears the changes are taking place more slowly for smaller businesses than initially thought, and where large businesses (like the Next example shown above) appear to have suffered in these early stages, perhaps Google is giving smaller brands a head start to make the necessary changes before penalising them too heavily.
The roll out is still early days, but there’s no doubt that Google’s latest algorithm update should be taken seriously. This is just the beginning of a change that has been coming for a long time- the way consumers use the internet is changing, and Google will continue to give priority to the sites which give the best user-experience across all devices.
We still advise all of our clients to ensure that their site meets mobile-friendly requirements as soon as possible to avoid any issues later down the line. If you’ve been left behind by the mobile friendly update, there’s still time to make the changes.
As always, the team at Fluid are here for you. Give us a call, or send us an email and we’ll be happy to help you make your site more user-friendly across mobile devices.