MOBILEGEDDON: What it Means for the Mobile Marketplace + 5 Ways to Avoid the Wrath of Google

Millennial Agency
6 min readApr 14, 2015
Google has an array of tools available to make your site more mobile-friendly. Image source: Mobile Mixed

On April 21 of this year, Google will install a new algorithm — every website owner and SEO manager NEEDS to know about it. Google’s updates are generally unnoticeable to site owners who follow the rules. As we observed in from Penguin and Panda, their algorithms are being continuously altered to read search rankings on a more semantic basis. Which if you think about it, makes logical sense why Google would roll out an update that encourages website owners who have a mobile-friendly site. Below we explain how you can easily check and protect that your website is safe from the dreadful Mobiledeggon.

TL;DR: A major algorithm change from Google is coming April 21. This article explains why this is happening and how to make sure your site is protected.

You may be asking why is Mobilegeddon happening? If you think about it simply we are relying on our phones increasingly in our daily lives, from quick searches to consuming content. With the ever-improving performance of hardware and software in our technology it only makes sense as to why Google would want websites to be mobile optimized. The market for consumers looking for efficient and accessible computers is huge. So big in fact that the internet market is started to replace the need for desktops in from mobile usage becoming a more part of our daily lives of browsing. Simply put, mobile and tablets are slowly supplementing desktops. As of mid-2014, the amount of time spent on browsing the internet on desktops has been surpassed by mobile:

2007–2015 Growth of internet users for Mobile vs. Desktop

Not implying that Desktop is dying in any way. However, certain users who were traditionally browsing on desktops are migrating to mobile and at a rapidly growing rate due to improved software and hardware. Companies like Apple are making over 6x the revenue of desktops from mobile and tablets, which grossed over $3.36bn in 2015 alone. In a recent report by ComScore shows that that apps are a distinguished leader of this shift of how we browse the internet. While browsing the internet on mobile is steadily inclining MoM:

Feb 2013 — Jan 2014 US Time Spent using the internet (Source: ComScore, Inc)

A brief summary of the events to come:

This new update is designed to benefit mobile-friendly websites. This will include both responsive and separate mobile sites. An estimated 60% of Google searches are now performed on mobile devices, so it’s only logical that the search results will cater to this. In a 2015 analysis by Monetate, E-Commerce conversion rates showed that tablets had nearly equal conversion rates with desktops:

What devices convert the highest overall in 2015 (Source: Monetate)

The change will also affect what types of results Google will generate. Though only websites have been shown in the past, future searches may suggest apps and other online tools. Though the only way to keep a site active against these tools is to make sure it is full of valuable content.

If you don’t prepare your site for mobile an adverse effect could come on your website due to this algorithm change could put a dent in the company’s success. Currently, Google is looking for the semantic relations of the site. This includes being ‘consumer-friendly’ by the simplicity of UI and clarity of content, as well as interactions. Let’s face it. At the end of the day, the more sites that do well with traffic and sales = more profit for Google = $$$.

5 Ways to Protect Your Site from Mobilegeddon:

  1. Find your Weaknesses. Google’s update is scheduled to go out on April 21, which will give website owners about two weeks to prepare for Doomsday. There could be a lot of changes to make in order to pull websites through Google’s new algorithm, and that deadline is going to creep up fast. Talk to your developer or visit forums for specific help with changes. Don’t let Mobilegeddon win.
  2. Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test can be used to determine if sites meet basic qualifications. If needed, it will break down the necessary changes that must be made in order to ensure your site will be accessible after Mobilegeddon hits.
  3. Create a responsive website. This means that a singular website will recognize (and “respond” to) the device accessing it, to ensure consumers are met with an experience well-suited to either the computer or the mobile device. The second option is to create a separate mobile website. This is a different layout specifically for mobile users in addition to the established website for computer usage. The content on both sites can give the same information, but in appropriate formats for each. (Edit by @jlafollette: If you do pursue “separate mobile websites” Google requires that the URL stay the same, otherwise your site will not be considered mobile friendly:
  4. Run Google’s Mobile Usability Report to preview their websites as seen by the search engine. You will need your site to be synced with your Google Webmaster account, but this is the best way to check mobile friendliness.
  5. Create Mobile-Friendly Content. There is a lot of research that must be done in this area in order to survive Mobilegeddon. Whether it’s your homepage or blog one key fact to remember is that mobile searches do NOT equal desktop searches. Consumers use mobile searches for quick information needed instantaneously. On the contrary, desktop searches are typically for lengthier or more informative searches. This is vital in creating the content and layout for each type of site.

Rising Trend in Mobile B2C Relationships

Since the dawn of tablets and smartphones, there has been a noticeably increasing trend in mobile usage for internet users. In 2013, Hewlett-Packard reported a 13% decline in consumer revenue from the previous year for PC’s and attributed the drop to the increase in popularity of smartphones, tablets and miscellaneous computing tech. This comes as no surprise with mechanical engineering moving faster than ever, processors are getting smaller and we can now fit terabytes in SD-sized bits. Let’s face it the future we all imagined in the 90's is here.

This has caused an evolutionary race for software and technology companies alike to create the most useful solutions for consumers from wearable tech to interactive commerce in messaging. With large companies like Facebook entering the mobile E-Commerce market rolling out a new commerce feature that will allow users to order products or food from Messenger, the only path for mobile commerce is up.

Mobile usage does not just stop at content and communication either, all levels of commerce and financial-driven companies are always finding creative ways to get their audience to engage. In a 2014 report by Pew Research Center they found that 9% of adults have texted a charitable donation from their mobile phone. One of the first big case studies of a successful mobile funding campaign was during the “Text to Haiti” campaign by Red Cross in 2010:

Mobile giving played an especially prominent role during the aftermath of the January 2010 Haiti earthquake, as individual donors contributed an estimated $43 million to the assistance and reconstruction efforts using the text messaging feature on their cell phones:

The first-ever, in-depth study on mobile donors — which analyzed the “Text to Haiti” campaign after the 2010 earthquake — finds that these contributions were often spur-of-the-moment decisions that spread virally through friend networks.

74% of Haiti text donors say that their donation to the Haiti earthquake relief was the first time they had used their phone’s text messaging function to make a donation to an event, cause or organization.

22% had texted a donation of some kind prior to their contribution to Haiti earthquake relief

My point of the fundraising example is that consumers are willing to engage in commerce over their phones and mobile commerce has the potential to make a huge impact in the marketplace. The more that these mobile tools are improved our everyday lives, the more ways we will adapt and utilize them.

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Millennial Agency

Millennial Agency is a creative marketing firm, specializing in identifying audiences and developing consumer markets with precise brand experiences.