From time to time we like to put up ‘no-bull’ executive summaries on an important or timely topic. This is just one of those times….

Mobilegeddon is a term that’s gotten some nervous traction in the SEO community recently, referencing the upcoming changes Google is making to their search engine algorithms on April 21. Mobilegeddon is not a term that Google is using (as they prefer animal names for their algorithm changes like Panda and Penguin). Basically, searches will favour websites optimized to the device that users are searching from. So for example, if you’re searching Google via a tablet or smartphone, mobile-friendly sites will appear above non-mobile-friendly sites. This could have a significant impact on many reputable but older websites that are not mobile-friendly.

We think this is a pretty big deal for Google and for search results in general. Google doesn’t usually announce ranking signal adjustments so specifically. Google is quite explicit that the result on April 21 will be ‘significant’ as voiced in their official announcement: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.ca/2015/02/finding-more-mobile-friendly-search.html
Supporting this (and for context) is Google’s Zineb Ait Bahajji. She is quoted as saying at SMX Munich, the upcoming mobile-friendly algorithm will impact more sites than Google’s Panda or Penguin algorithms did.
For point of reference, both of those previous updates had huge impacts on site rankings in general. (SOURCE: http://searchengineland.com/how-large-is-googles-mobile-friendly-algorithm-larger-than-panda-or-penguin-217026)

While Google makes 500 to 700 small search algorithm adjustments a year to ensure more credible organic results and to ensure advertisers (inorganic results) are fairly represented … they don’t usually talk about the workings behind the curtain or give such clear indicators.
(SOURCE: http://www.google.ca/insidesearch/howsearchworks/algorithms.html)

It’s for this reason, that many web industry insiders have taken to calling April 21 ‘Mobilegeddon.’ (Clearly the SEO industry is having a field day with this.)

The changes will be in world-wide search results and be device specific.

April 21, 2015

Google publicly states that it wants search results to be more device specific. Since 30-60%+ of all new search traffic is from tablets and smartphones, it makes sense for Google to preferentially favour mobile-friendly sites on those devices over websites that are not mobile-friendly.
(SOURCE: https://www.google.ca/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=what%20percentage%20of%20search%20is%20mobile)

Google is a business and like all businesses they are at least in part driven by profit. Since up to 60% of all search traffic now comes from mobile traffic, it makes sense that Google would make adjustments to search results on mobile devices to preferentially favor (at least in visual placement), sites that are mobile friendly. But what of the sites that are not mobile friendly? Well, the options for the non-mobile friendly are either to: 1) redesign, or, 2) invest in mobile targetted ads. Cha-ching. In fact, new figures from eMarketer indicate that mobile advertising spends will double that of desktop by 2017, and by 2019 mobile will account for 72% of the total digital ad spend.

The central idea is this: Google (like Facebook) has long been combating reduced ad revenues for mobile traffic which they haven’t been able to monetize as well (see here and here for historic context). By making mobile a prominent ranking signal in their search algorithm, Google can fix this problem and capitalize on the ‘gold rush’ of non mobile-friendly sites anxious to not lose their visibility in the Search Engine Results Pages.

You can check if your current site is mobile-friendly by going to: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly
If you’re a webmaster, you can use your Google Webmaster Tools account to get a full list of mobile usability issues across your site using the Mobile Usability Report: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-usability
If active development is required, here’s some good tips: https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!category-topic/webmasters/mobile/HxSEpPE91ks
For more information (straight from Google):
https://developers.google.com/webmasters/mobile-sites/get-started/

–>If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, here’s some tips:
– If your site is a modern WordPress site (built in the last 2-3 years), your site theme can very likely just have some options for responsiveness or mobile-friendliness enabled, or, in a worst case may need either an updated theme or a new theme altogether. Ask a web expert what your best options are.
– Some older websites that aren’t running WordPress will require a second mobile version of their site duplicating aspects of their content to be installed.
– If you have any questions, contact a web company you trust to ask for help.
– Can KyoseiCreative help me? Possibly. Give us a call and we’ll see what we can do to help!

Not surprisingly, there are many great infographics out there! Our favorite is from the executionists.com (bravo, guys!):

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( SOURCE: http://www.executionists.com/blog/mobilegeddon-is-coming-is-your-website-prepared/)