In February, Google announced an imminent update to its mobile search algorithm that will emphasize mobile-usability and app indexing more heavily as ranking signals. The April 21st update could devastate the search rankings of sites incompatible with mobile, including those of home service companies.
The update’s potential consequences are so grave for some sites that many in the SEO industry have begun referring to it as “The SEO-Pocalypse” or “Mobilegeddon.” The update will affect mobile searches in every language, so sites around the world have begun a race against the clock to preserve their mobile viability.
Mobile Revolution Catalyzes Google’s Evolution
Google’s latest move is an inevitable response to the seismic shift in how users access the Internet. In early 2014, mobile Internet usage exceeded desktop usage for the first time in history according to comScore data. Measurement company Nielsen corroborated those findings in its 2014 Digital Consumer Report – on average, American adults spend 34 hours per month online with mobile devices compared to 27 hours per month with desktops.
The trend has forced Google to adapt its ranking algorithms for mobile searches so users can quickly find mobile-friendly sites. Although the April 21st update to the mobile algorithm is by far the most significant, it is not Google’s first. Previously, the company has modified its ranking formula to make sure that sites were compatibly configured and viewable on mobile devices. Google also debuted App Indexing to cull helpful content from mobile apps.
The Effect on Mobile Search Results
In its announcement, Google said the update will have “a significant impact in [its] search results,” with some companies already seeing shifts in their mobile rankings. In January, Google cautioned the webmasters of non-mobile-friendly sites that they may soon see their mobile search rankings plummet.
Ryan Jones, a search and analytics expert, quantified for the SEO Post just how large the drops in ranking were: “Over the past few days I’ve seen some sites that have gotten warnings retain their #1 desktop rankings for competitive keywords but fall several pages down for the same keywords in mobile.”
Preparing for Mobile-Search Judgment Day
With mobile Internet use the potent force that it is, you would think that only a handful of straggler sites will need to get mobile-friendly by April 21st. On the contrary, the Web’s top 25,000 sites were evaluated for mobile-friendliness, and 10,000 of them failed. If 40 percent of
the world’s best websites are incompatible with mobile, you can imagine how many HVAC, roofing, plumbing, and other home services sites would also flunk Google’s new litmus test.
So what can home services companies do to save their sites from perishing on “Mobilegeddon”? The first step is to identify the problems. Try testing out your pages with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
Webmasters can also generate a Mobile Usability Report in their Webmaster Tools accounts to see a complete list of a site’s mobile-friendliness issues. You can also approximate what you stand to lose with a non-mobile-friendly site by consulting this mobile algorithm estimate study data template.
Naturally, the LeadBuilder website development team creates all sites with mobile usability as our top priority. If you’re worried about the coming Mobile SEO-Pocalypse, call us today at 800-595-8000 and let our team get your site up to par for the coming changes.
Image via Thinkstock
Tony Pataky is a Web Presence Strategist for LeadBuilder.com, and he has been in the marketing field for nearly 8 years. His marketing experience includes marketing research, project management, marketing & business strategy, SEO, content marketing, and social media. He has completed multiple levels of leadership training and has had the pleasure of leading teams on a project management level. He has a passion for motivating others to succeed and to achieve not only the goals set for an organization or for a project, but to enable team members to achieve their own personal and professional goals as well.