As of April 21, 2015 - Many Santa Barbara local businesses will notice a significant decrease in Web traffic. Why? Google has implemented a major overhaul on how the search engine algorithm ranks and categorizes websites. The effects of this change will be so far reaching it has been nicknamed the Mobilegeddon.
Google’s Mobilegeddon algorithm release will favor mobile-friendly websites. A mobile-friendly website has a responsive layout and design based on the size of the viewing device like a smartphone, tablet, and now a smartwatch. This means that if your target market is using an iPhone, your site will automatically look different than on a desktop or tablet. Using this mobile-friendly design has been considered a best practice over the last couple of years. Starting today, having a mobile-friendly site is a requirement to preserving search rankings.
Over 50% of all Google searches are conducted on a mobile device and Google wants to ensure that all users are getting the best viewing experience no matter what device they are using. This will be especially important for local business suchs as restaurants and retail stores, since mobile users tend to search for businesses near their current location.
Google announced the algorithm change earlier this year, stating that they would start “expanding their use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal”. As the date came closer, more and more webmasters started to scramble to ensure their websites are mobile-friendly. Google emphasized the importance of this major algorithm change saying that it will “have a significant impact in our search results”.
Google has provided users with the Mobile Friendly Test to help anyone find out if a website is mobile-friendly or not. Even though websites that are not mobile-friendly will take a beating, it’s not too late. The effects of Google’s search algorithm changes are often based on the change in website traffic flow. As Google are favoring the mobile-friendly websites, they will receive more traffic and rise in rankings. So addressing this issue promptly will definitely increase the chance of having your website preserve a high ranking. Mobilegeddon will also open up opportunities for better rankings for new websites that mobile-friendly design in place.
Google’s efforts to improve the user experience and finding relevant content for its users is closely related with trends in technology. Today, 91% of adults keep their smartphones within arms reach at all times and 95% of smartphone users have used their phone to look up information about a local business. After doing so, 61% called the business and 59% visited the physical store.
The Mobilegeddon will not only affect local business. According to Google’s Mobile Friendly Test, International brands like Nintendo, Windows Phone and Versace failed the test.