About a month ago, Google made a pretty big search algorithm change. (Yeah, get your coke-bottle glasses and pocket calculator ready; this is one of those posts). Mobile traffic is where the greatest amount of search engine traffic arrives from but most website owners have (either through ignorance or stubbornness) refused to get with the times and launch a mobile-friendly website, much less a mobile app. You know how many small businesses are without a mobile friendly website? 90% percent. Now factor the 60% of adults who use a mobile device when researching a potential purchase. Getting your online presence optimized for mobile is not a luxury – if you want your business to survive online, you need to get on this right away.
And here’s why it matters now, more than ever. Here comes the mobilegeddon!
Google realized that not only are most websites are not optimized for mobile access, more than half of their searches were coming from a mobile device. This was beginning to result in a number of frustrated (and therefore unhappy) Google users. And as a heavy mobile user, I can relate to the frustration of trying to find some kind of information and being impeded by Flash or a cascade of jumbled HTML. Google is by far the largest online search engine in operation and you can bet they want to keep it that way. And if their largest user demographic (mobile users) keeps getting the top of their search results flooded with junky websites that can’t work on a smartphone, that top status could eventually be put in jeopardy. Something had to be done.
That something was what bloggers have dubbed Mobilegeddon, a name presumably concocted during a 3AM Red Bull-and-vodka-fueled brainstorming session. Mobilegeddon would completely change the way Google returns search results entered on mobile devices by preventing any site that wasn’t mobile friendly to become excluded from mobile search queries. Now, this is obviously a drastic measure to take. This would be like a shopping mall building a wall around stores that weren’t revamped to better serve shoppers. If those people want to continue getting hits, they have no choice but to listen to Google and do the work necessary to stay in the top listings.
Google’s reason for doing this is twofold. One is the aforementioned; to keep Google users happy with their results. But it also is a way to force website owners to take the plunge (which isn’t actually a very difficult thing to do) and make a mobile option available. The other is this: to get everyone on the same page and up to speed, mobile-wise. By unleashing Mobilegeddon, Google has been able to send a powerful message. If you aren’t willing to change with the technology, then you are going to be left behind. And lest you think this is just big bad Google picking on small business owners, the Fortune 500 guys aren’t exactly keeping up with the times either as 44% of their sites fail to be mobile friendly.
Google saw itself getting into a position where, as the messenger, it would start to get shot by people unhappy with the results they were getting using the search service. As the top search engine in the world, they also saw it as a chance to give everyone that one last push. Google is doing everyone a favor. Smartphone sales are rising every year. 2014 saw 1.3 billion smartphones being shipped, up from just 1 billion in 2013. People aren’t going to ditch their smartphones because websites aren’t keeping up with them. They’re going to ditch the websites that don’t work with their smartphones and find newer, better ones.