Thousands of companies across the world are waiting anxiously to see whether the latest search change implemented by Google might have a detrimental effect on their website’s visibility.
The search giant announced recently that it would place a higher value on sites that are optimised for mobile phones – something which should come as no great surprise, given that it now processes over 100 billion searches from these handheld devices every month.
However, although Google updates its algorithm fairly frequently – to improve user experience – there have been fears that this latest change could have a severe impact on business websites. As bbc.co.uk puts it, “it could send some hurtling down the rankings”. This change took place in April 2015, so have those fears been realised? Or have unresponsive websites largely survived what’s been nicknamed ‘Mobilegeddon’?
It’s hard to say, according to Mike O’Brien, writing for searchenginewatch.com: “so far, the results have proven inconsistent”. Initial research showed there are 21 per cent fewer non-mobile-friendly sites ranking among the top three pages; something that was more pronounced on the second and third pages than on the first.
While some sites that fail the ‘mobile-friendly test’ (which analyses a URL for mobile-friendly design) have seen their rankings drop, others – such a Ryanair – have moved up; hence O’Brien’s comment about inconsistency. The same conclusion was brought at adweek.com, where a second survey found that some sites were impacted while others were not.
Experts seems to think that, with the advance warning given by Google, lots of website owners managed to optimise their online offering in the nick of time – so the impact has not been so catastrophic. Regardless, the message has been put out there: that those who haven’t been quite so proactive with their web presence need to become mobile-friendly fast, or risk losing out.