Don’t Believe the Hype: The ‘Mobilegeddon’ Earthquake that Never Happened.

We are now almost two months past Google’s apocalyptic “mobile friendly” update and the results are in. Did the so called “mobilegeddon” come to pass? Was your business one of those predicted to fall through the floor following the update on April 21?

Probably not.

For the uninitiated the term “mobilegeddon” represents two things. First, it describes the new update to Google’s mobile search results algorithm, making mobile readiness or to be more precise, providing a readable user experience (UX) what Google would term a “ranking factor”.

This is new territory for the search monolith. It is the first to take into consideration the UX of viewing search results; that is, less squinting, zooming and pinching. All good stuff and in the right direction.

Second, it represents the worst of the search or SEO industry. An over blown, hyped up story replicated through the SEO “press” echochamber that even the Economist magazine and the BBC picked up on.

So what really happened?

Nothing much seems to have happened to SME search results, particularly in the UK. Many of the search blogs who were proclaiming that the ‘end was nigh’ had some back tracking to do as they were feeling a little red-faced.

And what did they do?

As usual they performed poorly designed ‘experiments’ to test the statistical significance of search engine rankings of carefully chosen sites for specific keywords.

Notwithstanding the lack of a clear methodology, power analysis of the sample size and control of the multiple known and indeed ‘unknown unknown’ extraneous variables, the self appointed experts proclaimed that the mobilegeddon effect was negligible if anything. But if you are smart enough and squinted your eyes just so, you could see how they were really right all along (check out the difference between two cigarette papers, or as they say, ‘winners and losers’ on the Search Metrics blog).

Where does this leave us?

As a small agency we get to know our clients well and feel like we are working in partnership with them to help grow their business. We trust them and they trust us. This is the foundation of our business.

So when I read the plethora of mobilegeddon scare stories written to increase click rates and hear that my clients are getting bombarded by phone calls from SEO shysters, it makes my blood boil.

These snake oil salesmen are no different than a mafioso protection racket. They saunter into your business saying ‘you got a nice website here, it would be a shame if anything happened to it, let us protect you from the big bad Google algorithm’.

It’s dishonest and does nothing to help the bad image that the search marketing industry has — peddling magic beans and performing digital voodoo black magic.

Of course any professional website should provide a great user experience across all devices. But this isn’t new; it’s industry standard practice. And it’s not that hard. Most free Wordpress themes are now responsive out of the box.

Instead of waxing lyrical about the next doomsday search story, industry ‘experts’ could harness their excitable energies and focus on making their clients business a success.

Just a thought.