What Are the Experts Saying about the Mobile Friendly Update?
Google started rolling out a new algorithm update three days ago in an attempt to make life easier for its growing number of mobile internet users (or so they like to have us believe). The panic in the run-up to the event and the sweaty palms that have since ensued have been nothing short of phenomenal. But have the early effects of Mobilegeddon confirmed our worst fears, or is it actually a bit of a damp squib?
In a statement issued on April 21st, Google outlined the specifics of the mobile friendly update.
Happily, Mobilegeddon won’t have any impact on the importance of search intent, so a great piece of content on a non-mobile friendly site can still rank highly if it gives a great response to a given query.
Expert Opinion on Mobilegeddon
It’s early days yet, but as you know the SEO community never sleeps and a number of experts have already contributed their unique insights on the matter. Here are two of the more useful (and entertaining) ones.
Peter Meyers, Moz’s resident expert on all things statistical, has been reporting on early fluctuations in the search engine results pages (SERPs) to gauge the extent to which our alarm bells should be ringing.
Not much, it appears – at least for the time being. True, the number of mobile friendly results on page one has risen, and the gap between mobile and desktop results appears to be widening. In addition, the number of ‘Mobile Friendly’ tags in the SERPs also seems to be creeping up, although there are too many variables to say exactly why at this stage.
But as with all Google’s algorithm updates, the changes only appear to be taking effect very gradually. It’s not as though all non-mobile friendly sites have suddenly disappeared off the radar, as the sensational headlines of late would have you believe.
Google has revealed that the update could take days or even weeks to roll out, which makes its effects difficult to quantify. However, as always Moz is doing its darndest and you can keep an eye on their progress here should you so wish.
InfoWorld’s Bill Snyder bitingly remarks, “the blogosphere is stupidly freaking out over a needed change in Google’s mobile search algorithm.” A bit harsh, perhaps, but he does have a point: the update appears to be “significant, but hardly cataclysmic.”
Unlike many other SEO updates, mobile friendliness has made headlines in the global press, sending everyone into a frenzy. Overzealous title tags from click-hungry sites can only have made matters worse. “Site Not Mobile-Friendly? Kiss Your Google Ranking Goodbye” warns one. “Are you ready for Google’s Mobilegeddon Phonepocalypse tomorrow?” asks another. (Yup, I’m deadly serious.)
None of this is to say that we should become complacent and abandon our quest for mobile friendliness altogether, and nor is Snyder downplaying the importance of having a mobile friendly site. Now that more than 50 percent of searches are done on mobile devices, you would frankly be a fool to ignore the browsing requirements of this huge proportion of the market.
The message here is once again not to take a reactive approach to SEO, but rather to consider the user first and foremost. Of course, Google’s motives are unlikely to be as rosy as they like to portray:
“There is … more to this than Google’s solicitous concern for users: It’s a smart move in its war against mobile apps and social media sites that have been stealing its search revenue.”
However, as Meyers has it, it’s important to remember that the SEO community has a “penchant for melodrama”. So if your site isn’t mobile friendly yet, make it mobile friendly – but don’t lose too much sleep over Mobilegeddon in the meantime.
Some final food for thought…