8249 West 95th Street, Overland Park, KS 66212

Mobile Usability Impact

It’s been a month since Google’s mobile friendliness update launched.  Remember how I said it was going to be a big deal?  It wasn’t as big of a deal as I expected [for my clients].  Some sites were hit hard by the update hasn’t done much to our clients.  That could be because most of my clients were already mobile friendly, but one in particular wasn’t and I was worried about them.  They have pretty good traffic and about 30% of it is from mobile devices coming from organic results.  I was really worried that 30% of their traffic was going to disappear.  I thought about it a lot and figured that the impact on my client would depend on the competing websites.  I did a quick risk assessment beacuse I figured Google couldn’t wipe out their ranking if the sites around them were also mobile unfriendly.  It turns out that most of their SERP competition was in the same boat as they were, so I stopped worrying as much.  As I suspected, not much happened.

Was Google’s Mobile Friendliness Update a big deal or not?  Yes, it was a big deal and had a significant impact on some sites.  How much it matters depends on an individual site and the results where they rank. I had a feeling that this would happen, but I leaned to the “apocalypse” side of things because Google never, ever warns us about algo updates so it seemed like a pretty big deal. I figured we were in for a Florida update all over again but it wasn’t that bad. Some sites did get hit really hard. Reddit, for example, lost nearly 30% of their mobile visibility. Some other notable changes were NBC Sports -28%, Youngmoney.com -76%, tested.com -89%, census.gov -22%, walmartstores.com -31%, thefiscaltimes.com -71%, and usps.gov -20%. (Info courtesy searchmetrics) I’m sure there were many other sites that got hammered by the mobile update, but our clients came out pretty well.

Even though the information I’ve seen says this update wasn’t a big deal for our clients doesn’t mean we can stop thinking about it.  Mobile friendliness is now a big ranking factor and if a site finds itself in a set of results where all the sites are unfriendly, they could catapult themselves to the top by making their site friendly.  Time to take advantage and make your site friendly before someone else makes the jump.