If you’ve paid even a lick of attention to industry news over the last couple months, you’ve probably heard of Mobilegeddon, more affectionately known as Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm update that hit today, April 21 — and is predicted to be Google’s most significant algorithm change yet.
But what’s with all the publicity, and why’s the update so threatening?
Because Google actually warned the masses far in advance.
Usually, the search engine giant is coy about when its updates will arrive and what their impact will be.
Nope, not the case this time.
Google announced this update openly on its blog in February, allowing nearly two months to prepare.
Google’s advance warning indicated that the company is serious about creating a great user experience for mobile searchers. Not only that, but instead of penalizing websites, Google would like them updated. The advance warning also suggested the expected impact of the change. In fact, Google is on the record as saying that Mobilegeddon will be more significant than the famed Penguin and Panda algorithm updates that sent waves through the SEO world.
So Mobilegeddon is a big deal, but it doesn’t have to be an end-of-the-world scenario for your organic search results. Many retailers are wondering what to do next and how to adapt. Let’s discuss.
1. Check your status. First check to see if you’re in the clear. The easiest way to check is to search for your site from a mobile phone and look for the “mobile friendly” text beside your link in the search results. You can also use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. If you see the mobile-friendly label, or if the test results are positive, you’re likely safe. Otherwise, it’s time to brace for impact.
2. Understand the impact. As a retailer, you need to understand the potential effect on revenue. Consider a scenario where your orders attributed to organic search on mobile devices are cut by 50% to 90%. This dollars-and-cents analysis will tell you how significant the impact is for your business and help you decide how to move forward.
3. Make a plan. If your site isn’t yet mobile friendly, there’s no reason to sit and wait. In the long term, having a responsive website or separate mobile and desktop sites when tagged correctly are your best options.
4. Replace your mobile traffic. Once you’re affected, the first step you can take is to rebuild your mobile traffic. An excellent short-term option is to increase your bids for mobile in your AdWords campaigns. Assuming you were seeing mobile conversions before, you should be able to regain some traffic and a proportionate number of conversions. Remember that mobile friendliness has affected Quality Score for several years, so you may have to bid higher for Google to show your ads. As such, this is only a temporary fix.
For now, you might be able to lessen the impact on your business by increasing your advertising spend. But you’ll continue to miss out on the opportunity that a mobile-friendly site will offer you. Mobile traffic is only going to increase, and as retailers figure out complicated interactions, like mobile checkout, conversions will increase as well.
Consider money spent on your mobile efforts as investments in the future instead of direct expenses. Companies that dismiss mobile will continue to miss out on the growing m-commerce opportunity. Don’t let that be you.
Blog post by Evan Carroll, digital marketing product manager, ChannelAdvisor