The “Mobilegeddon” That Wasn’t: What You Need to Know About Google’s Mobile-Friendly Update

Google confirmed that their mobile-friendly algorithm rolled out on April 21. Many people called this “Mobilegeddon,” because it was supposed to completely upend mobile search results. If your site was optimized for mobile, you didn’t have much to worry about; if your site wasn’t optimized . . . things were supposed to take a turn for the worse. So, what really happened? And what happens next?

This is what you need to know.

Why did Google roll out this update and what was it?

More and more traffic on the Web is from a mobile device these days. Look around whenever you are in a place with a lot of people: the younger the crowd, the more likely they are to be staring down at their phones.

To stay current (and not go the way Lycos went), Google is trying to improve on the user experience by responding to the demand for mobile-friendly pages. With this update users will more easily find higher-quality, mobile-optimized results when searching on their phones.

This update:

  • Affected only search rankings on mobile devices
  • Affected search results in all languages globally 
  • Applied to individual pages, not entire websites

Again, the update was meant to impact only mobile searchers and was supposed to give a ranking boost to mobile-friendly pages in mobile search results. It was also intended to affect every single indexed page on your site. You can use this tool to check some of your main pages to make sure they are considered mobile-friendly.

In a recent blog post, Dr. Pete Meyers of Moz measured that SERPs with the “mobile-friendly” tag were already on over 72% of the results. This percentage has been increasing for two reasons: more people are updating their sites to be mobile-friendly and Google’s new Mobilegeddon update should be showing more mobile-friendly results.

If your pages still aren’t mobile-friendly, it’s not the end of the world—but you should start to work on making them so. Once they’re updated, you can resubmit the pages in Google’s Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools). Until your pages are updated and resubmitted, you may see a decrease in mobile traffic (if you haven’t already).

The bottom line is you should already be doing this, optimizing for mobile traffic. Improving the user experience is an often-overlooked job. Respect your users. Make using your site an easy and enjoyable experience for them, wherever they may be coming from.

Did Mobilegeddon affect you? Let me know in the comments or tweet @seo_george.

Subscribe to Our Blog