If you’re reading this, you likely have some knowledge of Google’s newest update to its search engine algorithms. It’s been labeled Mobilegeddon, because this shift in how Google ranks Websites will have a tremendous effect on many businesses that have not prepared to be mobile friendly.
Several years from now, we will look back and remember the Internet before Mobilegeddon, and after. Whoa, that’s a strong statement! Has the cheese slid off my cracker? Nope. Mobilegeddon signifies several fundamental shifts in how we use the Internet – all of us.
Mobilegeddon is not a Michael Bay movie, despite sounding like one.
How important is this? Google is famously tightlipped about their search algorithms. Most knowledge is learned through practice, SEO, Web Development, and Analytics communities sharing information, and the almighty Matt Cutts. The best way to describe Matt Cutts to the unfamiliar is with this line from Wikipedia:
The Wall Street Journal said Cutts“is to search results what Alan Greenspan was to interest rates.”
Cutts, one could say, is the Czar of Search at Google – although he is currently on sabbatical. You can garner an appreciation for the man from his TED talk here. You can also get a feel for Cutts’ relevancy to Search here and here. If you visit those links, you will quickly find that Cutts has “hinted” at the importance of both Responsive design and mobile friendly Websites for a very long time. He has also spoken about the fact that mobile search has exploded, and it’s growing at a tremendous rate. He has consistently spoken about Google’s direct goal of delivering the best, most relevant, quickest, search results to its users on mobile.
Most importantly, Mobilegeddon is one of the very few times Google has announced its plans. This is almost uncharted territory for the company. Here’s Google’s official announcement from February 25, 2015. Yes, Mobilegeddon is real, and so is the importance of being competitive on mobile for your company and or brand.
Therefore, I can just add a mobile plug-in or mobile site, right.
Web Development and Design folks have been focused on Responsive Web Design for some time. We call it “Responsive,” as the code is designed to work with, or respond, to various devices from smartphones to gaming consoles and laptops. Additionally, Responsive design embraces an architecture that uses one Website to meet these needs. This is important, as adding a mobile friendly version or plug-in to your site is not the same thing as a Responsive design. In fact, many Developers, SEO, and Analytics folks believe adding a mobile version to an existing site will actually hurt its rankings. It’s a lot easier, and faster, to crawl one Website, its links, content, relevancy, etc. then multiple sites. Ergo, your site is likely to suffer from simply adding a mobile site. Most Developers and SEO professionals agree that a single Responsive design is the best possible solution.
Google remains the world’s search engine leader for a reason, they understand what their users want, and they give it to them. How many searches have you done today with your phone or iPad / tablet? How many mobile searches have you done this year? How does this compare to this time last year, or the year before? We will soon reach a tipping point where more searches are done on mobile than on desktops or laptops. Online traffic is 60% of the total already. When I say soon, I mean within the next two to three years. If you weren’t sure if this Mobilegeddon affects you, it almost certainly is now, and if not yet, it absolutely will be soon.
Monkey See. Monkey Do.
All this comes down to Google changing how it does things, because our behavior has dictated it. The United States has a lower smartphone usage rate than many countries. In India, South Korea, Japan, Brazil, most of Europe, and many other areas, people are already searching more from their smartphones than on PC’s or laptops. In many countries, this is partially because a higher percentage of active Internet users’ primary devices are phones and tablets. In some cases, like South Korea, it’s normal to see people asking their smartphones questions anywhere. The US is not far behind, and our percentage of time on mobile has been steadily rising.
Therefore, I believe Mobilegeddon is the tipping point from traditional Search, to mobile first Search. I believe we will look back and know that 2015 is the most transformative year in Search for the 21st Century, so far.