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Post-Mobilegeddon – The Importance of Mobile SEO

May 20, 2015

As the dust settles on the latest algorithm change from Google, nicknamed Mobilegeddon, we are left wondering, was there much of an impact at all?

This Google update aimed to prioritize mobile-friendly sites in mobile searches and penalize websites considered unfriendly. According to RKG Merkle, 45 percent of the Fortune 500 companies and 29 percent of Internet retail sites were affected by the update, but were there any real horror stories?

BrightEdge data scientists released this report 10 days after the roll out of Mobilegeddon:

“Our researchers determined that as of April 27 there was a 21 percent decrease in the number of non-mobile-friendly URLs on the first 3 pages of the SERPs compared to before the update. Versus the decrease seen on page 1 of 17.3 percent, a more pronounced impact was seen on the 2nd and 3rd SERP pages, which saw a 20.7 percent and 25.2 percent decrease, respectively, in non-mobile-friendly URLs. We hypothesize that because other ranking factors are weaker on the second and third pages of search results that the mobile-friendliness of a URL had a bigger impact on rank than it did on the first page.

From this we can determine that websites ranking on the 2nd and 3rd SERP pages were less likely to be optimized for mobile and therefore saw more of an impact from the update. Beyond the algorithm update, there are fundamental practices you can employ that will improve the impact of your site and help to position you for optimal search ranking.

Landing Page Optimization

One major takeaway from the mobile algorithm change is that you should ensure you optimize your landing pages for both mobile and desktop. Companies such as British Airways that have functional, clear mobile sites have lost visibility because the company has not optimized its landing pages for holiday and destination terms. British Airways was hit particularly hard on its Florida landing page, where it has dropped off the first page to 11th position.

Similar stories have been seen across the board, with each company pointing blame toward specific site pages that have not been optimized for mobile devices as the reason their site was affected by the change.

Mobile SEO

Mobile optimization ensures that mobile visitors have an experience optimized for their mobile device and takes into consideration site design, site structure, page speed and more to ensure a quality mobile user experience. If your website is already well optimized for search engines, then making some additional changes is all you need to think about when optimizing for mobile.


In the build up to the algorithm change, it became apparent that site speed and usability were going to be factors for and against your website mobile-friendliness. You can test your page speed and mobile friendliness with these tools from Google:

It is important for you, as a webmaster, to take these actions as the algorithm change matures and becomes more apt in deciphering the quality of a mobile user experience.

Website design for mobile seo

Mobile is helping to revolutionize the way we design a website in a simpler direction.

  • Avoid Flash – it isn’t available on every device. Instead, use HTML 5.
  • Avoid pop-ups – they don’t translate well onto mobile.
  • Design with the finger in mind – Google Webmaster Tools actually informs you of how many instances your website has pages that don’t consider the path of the user’s finger. Your site will be penalized if elements are too big, too small, too close together and so on.
  • Optimize Page Titles and Meta Descriptions

It may seem obvious, but a user has less physical space when searching with mobile devices. This needs to be a consideration when moving forward with your mobile SEO strategy. The best practice is to be as concise as possible without sacrificing important information.

So, while the sky didn’t actually fall on April 21, what we saw was still a wake-up call for sites not optimized for mobile. The shift toward mobile-friendliness has been more evolution than revolution. Remaining proactive about developments such as Mobilegeddon will ensure that your site grows and evolves into a healthy, search engine-friendly one.



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