Google is changing its search-ranking algorithm to favour sites that are mobile-friendly. In it’s first change of this magnitude in over two years, the update is being coined ‘Mobilegeddon,’ speaking to the potential catastrophic consequences that may arise as a result. The move– an iron-fisted one—is rooted in the notion that while content is king, user experience is just as important. Essentially, Google is setting an ultimatum that will leave many businesses in the dust if they don’t make the necessary adjustments before April 21st. As we’ve noted before, general consensus has been that 2015 is the year of mobile, so news of a change that aligns with that school of thought isn’t necessarily a surprise to the digital world, but nonetheless, the general reception of the update has been a shake-up—to say the least.
But What Does It All Mean?
With mobile accounting for around 60% of online traffic, search result rankings are critical for driving conversions, making them a powerful tool and an essential KPI. It’s projected that smaller businesses will feel the brunt of the turmoil, since mobile optimization is often less emphasized due to lack of resources. The results of a lower search rank would lead to less traffic, and subsequently less business, for those sites which rely heavily on search results and aren’t optimized for mobile.
Itai Sadan, CEO of website designing company Duda, speaks to the fundamentals of the update, saying that “Google has always been about relevancy, and content is king, …but that’s changing. Yes, they’re saying content is still extremely important, but user experience is just as important. It’s not sufficient to have all the right content — if people come to your site and the content is there but it’s not readable, that’s not good.” He adds that “businesses that depend on people finding them through localized search — like, if someone typed “coffee shops in Sunnyside, Queens,” into Google on their phone — could see a decrease in foot traffic as a result of this update.”
But smaller businesses aren’t the only ones in trouble.
A study performed by digital marketers, Somo, found that many big names, including American Apparel, Nintendo and The Daily Mail, will also be threatened by the update, proving that Google favours neither David nor Goliath.
Google is laying down the law with fervor, and the digital world is buzzing as businesses frantically anticipate tomorrow’s update. We are past the tipping point of Mobile’s rise, and those who don’t adapt with the exponential nature of technology’s trajectory will be left — far– behind.