by Nabeel Shamshad
Google constantly tweaks its search algorithm to provide a better user experience to internet surfers. Most of the time these updates are incremental but sometimes, they can affect millions of users. This is exactly what has happened with the latest search update for mobile users. Known as ‘Mobilegeddon’ by some SEO specialists and marketers, it has changed a lot. Have you been affected or just want to know more about it? Read on.
This update only affected mobile search rankings of those websites that are not mobile friendly. Google also provided webmasters and website owners with a mobile friendly test tool that tells whether or not a website is mobile friendly. Here is how ProPakistani looks like in a smartphone (Glad it is already mobile friendly!).
Tips To Survive The Mobilegeddon
The simplest answer to the question “How to survive mobilegeddon?” is “responsiveness”. You need to make your website responsive to make it appear properly on smartphones of different screen sizes. Following tips will surely help you survive the update.
- Check how a search engine bot sees your website. You can use several free tools such as Google webmaster tool. To use it just sign up, add your site and navigate to Crawl >> Fetch as Google from left side bar. There. insert url of your webpage, select “Mobile Smartphone” from drop down and run the analysis.
If you see green tick mark after running the analysis, your webpage is good to go with Google’s mobile search bots.
- Deactivate your non-responsive themes and install responsive ones. A responsive theme can easily be found for any popular CMS platform. Once a responsive theme has been installed, test it through your mobile device or using google’s mobile friendly test tool.
- If you don’t want to change your blog’s theme, install plugins that add responsive functionality to websites. Jetpack is a very popular WordPress plugin that adds a mobile version of site that will only be visible to mobile visitors. WPtouch is another great piece of add-on for WordPress sites that does the same work of detecting mobile visitors and serving them with a mobile friendly version of website.
- Monitor your website’s mobile metrics. Google Analytics offers a great help by displaying different types of devices that are being used to browse through your website. It displays a handful of useful information like number of visitors coming from a specific device, bounce rate, page per session, time spent per session etc.
This information can be very useful if used correctly. By analyzing the stats one can easily find out whether or not visitors are enjoying the mobile version. If the bounce rate is high and pages and duration per session are low, it is a clear indication that mobile visitors are not satisfied. In which case several remedial actions might need to be taken.
- Do not use any content in your blog that is incompatible or un-playable with mobiles or smartphones. Always embed those videos that can be played on mobile devices. Same is the case for animations, images etc.
A fellow Pakistani blogger discusses these tips in greater details in this article.
Why Did Google Update Mobile Search?
Simply because more and more people are using smartphones and tablets now. According to an insight published by ComScore, number of people using mobile phones surpassed the number of people using computers in 2014. Dazeinfo published a study in January 2014 according to which 73% of world’s total internet users (which is 1.9 billion users) were accessing internet primarily through their smartphones at that time. The study also projected the same percentage to increase up to 90% by 2014 (which makes 3 billion people roughly).
These studies suggested that search algorithms for smart phones need to be tailored accordingly.
Who Needs To Worry After This Update?
The answer is simple. Website owners who care about their mobile audience need to worry and take preventive actions. Those who already have a mobile friendly website can sigh with relief. Websites that were only made for desktop users and do not offer anything to mobile users can simply ignore this update as it will de-rank them in mobile search results only which will not hurt their business. Their desktop search rankings will remain intact.
Unlike previous search algorithm updates that turned thousands of online business upside down this update has not caused much havoc. One reason is that it only affected mobile traffic of websites. The other reason is that preventive measures for this one are easy and take less time to implement.
It has been more than two weeks since the update was launched but not many reports of sudden traffic loss or gain have been received. The Google bot for mobile search is still doing its work indexing all the websites again for mobile search results. It is better for all website owners to do the needful before they are affected.