On Tuesday, April 21, 2015, the virtual earth will shake with a righteous fury. Across the mobile digital space, the sky will darken, the seas will churn and the ground will be cracked open. And once the dust settles, thousands of websites will no longer have good standing in mobile SEO rankings. Instead they will have plummeted into the bowels of the mobile search abyss.
April 21 is a date that is being watched closely by those in the digital marketing space. Google will be releasing their next as-of-yet unnamed search update on this day, and they haven’t been shy in letting everyone know what it’s going to do. When this update goes live, if your site is not mobile-friendly, your mobile search rankings will be affected.
To be honest, the writing has been on the wall for a while now. Google has already been using mobile optimization as a factor in determining search engine rankings, although the effect has been minimal. Sites with poor mobile versions could still perform well based on numerous other factors.
But as of 2014, mobile platforms finally surpassed desktop as the most common way for people to view a website, with some saying that mobile accounted for as much as 60 percent of total online traffic. Mobile data usage is expected to increase by 300 percent by 2017. And it is has been forecasted that mobile search revenue will finally surpass desktop search revenue this year. All this should come as no surprise as more and more companies see their mobile visits grow by leaps and bounds.
So Google’s decision to increase the weight of mobile usability in mobile SEO rankings is obvious. For the time being, Google says this won’t affect your overall desktop rankings although that could be in cards for the future. But the question still remains. How much will your site be affected? Well, no one will know for sure until the day arrives, but we’ll share a few things you can do to prepare.
- Do you have a mobile site? Does it work? If not, what are you waiting for? If you do have a mobile site, make sure that it actually functions easily. Pull out your phone or tablet and run your site through the gamut. So many times we’ve seen clients with mobile sites that seem to have been created as an afterthought. And having a mobile site that isn’t user friendly will be just as bad as not having one at all.
- Ensure your mobile site is indexed. For a while now, standard practice has been that if you had a mobile site, your developer probably set it up as a no-follow to avoid duplicate page penalties. This ensured that Google was crawling your desktop version of the site only. But if Google can’t see your mobile site come April 21, you’re going to get hit.
- Use the Google Mobile-Friendly Test. Google has created a handy way for you to check your site’s mobile readiness. Just enter your sites URL in the bar and click Analyze. In a few short seconds, you will see Google’s answer. You’ll either see an “Awesome. Your site is mobile-friendly,” or a list of things you need to fix.
The day of reckoning for companies who have been slow to move on entering the mobile space is coming shortly. Mobile-friendly sites aren’t just a “nice to have” feature anymore. They were already becoming your customers’ preferred way of navigating the web, and now they’re going to be a deciding factor in your future SEO. Don’t let your website be swept aside by Google’s “Mobilegeddon” on April 21!
If you still aren’t convinced, here are some resources to help you understand the SEO impact on mobile-friendly websites. And some other expert opinions on Mobilegeddon and how to prepare for Google’s mobile-friendly update.