What is Mobilegeddon?

April 21, 2015... a day which will live in infamy

The doom and gloom:

If you have indulged in any of the #mobilegeddon hype you may have seen dramatically foreboding predictions including: plummeting search rankings, crashing organic traffic, loss of market share and even the threat of disappearing from Google altogether.

Before the Mobilegeddon rollout, USA Today estimated that 40 percent of all sites would fail Google’s mobile-friendly criteria.

eMarketer predicted that nearly half of Fortune 500 sites aren’t mobile-friendly, according to Google’s standards.

Mobile Friendly Fortune 500


What is Mobilegeddon?

The Google mobile friendly algorithm update seeks to boost the rankings of relevant, mobile-friendly pages on search results while using a mobile device. The updated algorithm rewards sites that have relevant content, readable text without tapping or zooming, properly spaced tap targets and no horizontal scrolling or unplayable content. Sites that meet these basic requirements will even have a “mobile-friendly” achievement badge on mobile SERPs.

Mobile Friendly Visual

Quick facts about the Google mobile friendly update:

  • The mobile-friendly update only affects search rankings on mobile devices. Search rankings originating from computers (and tablets) should not be affected at all.
  • The update applies to each individual webpage, not entire websites (a website is only mobile-friendly if each page is).
  • A page is either mobile-friendly or not mobile-friendly. There is no in between or percentage rating system.
  • Pages that are made mobile-friendly after the algorithm rollout will be automatically re-crawled and indexed.
  • There are already some Mobilegeddon winners and losers.


What you can do in a Post-Mobilegeddon world:

1.) Check each page on your site (not just the home page) with the Google mobile-friendly test tool. If you see the following, you are on the right track.

Visual of mobile-friendly website

If you see anything like the following, use the recommendations that Google gives you to improve both your site’s usability and ultimately your site’s mobile SEO power.

Visual if site is not mobile-friendly

2.) If at all possible, use responsive web design instead of separate, mobile-dedicated URLs to deliver a mobile friendly experience. Why? Although a mobile-dedicated site is still acceptable to Google, they have publicly stated that their preference is a responsive site. Given Google’s preferences and the dynamic nature of a responsive site, this is the best practice to ensure a long-term mobile marketing solution.

3.) Test the mobile site on actual mobile devices regularly to understand any pain points a user might encounter and optimize for the mobile user experience. Alternatively, you can use a tool such as BrowserStack’s responsive design checker to do a quick review of a site’s responsiveness across the most popular devices and screen sizes.

4.) Users expect faster load times on mobile devices than they do on their computers. Ensure that mobile users can satisfy their need for speed. Test the mobile site speed with the Google page speed insights tool.

5.) Last but most certainly not least: Don’t forget about content. Even poorly mobile optimized sites are more likely to have better search rankings than great mobile designs with poor content.


Final Thoughts: Mobilegeddon (or more appropriately, the Google mobile-friendly update) has officially rolled out completely. However, all of the update’s effects remain to be seen since the sites that were affected have not all been reindexed yet. Some sites may see a decline in organic mobile traffic and some may see an increase.

If your site is mobile-friendly and responsive, you should not see any major changes in your organic mobile traffic. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, there are relatively simple steps you can take to fix it.


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