May 10, 2015


April 21st, 2015 — a day that went down in Internet infamy. This was the day of Mobilegeddon.

Have you heard? Mobilegeddon occurred, and zombies were destroyed in the land of internet marketing. Google’s algorithm changes to allow mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor for searches conducted by smartphone went down, and shit got real. According to Pew Research Center, as of October 2014, 64% of American adults own a smartphone – and those searches make up a massively significant portion of all searches conducted today. With such a big algorithm change, it only makes sense that fallout has already begun.

So, what happened on the day that all control went to the machines since these algorithms went into place? If you do not take proper precautions and carefully monitor your site rankings, it could be that “Mobilegeddon” has already affected your site, and you do not even know it. Here are a few things you may have noticed:

  • Traffic has increased or decreased—notably in terms of referrals from mobile searches.
  • Individual pages may suddenly spike or drop in traffic. This could be because some of your pages are mobile-friendly, and others are not.
  • New competitors may rise in the rankings

Take a breath, however. What you will NOT see happen is your site completely disappear from Google. Even if you do not do anything to make your site mobile-friendly, your site will not disappear from the pages of Google. Other ranking factors do still come into play.

Pros and Cons for Business Owners

If it feels like a pain in the ass to make your site mobile-compliant just to help with Google rankings, get with the times. In many ways, this change offers small businesses a chance to play “catch up” with some of the big guns. Surprisingly, even with months of warning, some of the largest sites have not been able to move to a fully mobile-compliant format. This means smaller sites that can meet or exceed Google requirements could find themselves rising in the rankings.

What Should Website Owners Do to Become More Mobile-Compliant?

If you have not yet adjusted your website to become either responsive or mobile-compliant, now is the time to do so. The first step is to run your site through Google’s mobile-friendly test page. This is a simple process. It only requires you  to type or copy and paste your URL. Google will report if your page has a mobile-friendly design. You may also receive a bit of advice on how to update your page.

If you find your site does not meet standards,  it is not as difficult as you may think to make your site comply—and it will even help to boost your SERP rating. There is plenty of information out there for those who want to take the plunge and turn all your website pages mobile-friendly (including a simple one-pager from Google). However, to get you started, we gathered a few simple tips for achieving success with this new algorithm change:

Check Out Pre-Built Options

If you are using a CMS (a content management system such as WordPress or Joomla) to build your site using themes and templates, look through the available information and options to find new mobile-friendly or responsive designs. This could be a shortcut to success for many users.

Remove Outdated Elements

JavaScript, Shockwave Flash and certain other elements may have been all the rage a few years ago, but today they are outdated and clunky. Most of these elements do not load well on mobile devices and including them will cause your page not to comply with Google’s standards.

Set a Mobile Friendly Preferred Width

First, pull your site up in a standard desktop browser and see what the narrowest width is that all content is still readable. This is the minimum viewing size. Set this as the preferred width by adding this to the meta tag in the header.

Use Standard Fonts

While custom fonts are fun and can give your page a unique appearance, using standard fonts allows for faster downloads on mobile. This will also help your page appear the same on all devices—this is a very big deal.

Check Buttons and Links

Make sure every link and button on your site is easily clickable. This is one of the hardest steps, but it makes an enormous difference in how accessible your page is to mobile clients. Make sure you do not place links too close together where a user on a small-screen device will accidentally click the wrong one. This can be extremely frustrating for users as well as affect your mobile-friendly rating.

Remember Speed

Especially when it comes to mobile users, speed counts. Think about the simple ways you could reduce loading time, which will make a significant impact on every visitor.

If you have not already made changes to your website prior to Mobilegeddon, it is not too late! The day has come and passed, but you’ve got to get on the train today. Take advantage of the fact that thousands of other website owners out there are not proactive – and get your site functioning properly on mobile devices ASAP.

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