Home Thanks To Google’s Mobilegeddon, Your Search Rank May Be Toast

Thanks To Google’s Mobilegeddon, Your Search Rank May Be Toast

It’s not as if you haven’t been warned. Google has said for years it was going to get serious about mobile. Now, on April 21, it is.

As it announced back in February, on April 21 Google will “expand [its] use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal,” which “will have a significant impact on search results.”

See also: Why Google Wants To Padlock The Web

While most big companies have planned accordingly and can sleep through “Mobilegeddon,” others, like Procter and Gamble and Microsoft, have not, and need to optimize their mobile sites or risk fading from Google’s sight. 

Carrots And Sticks

For years Google largely ignored the mobile Web as it focused on Android and native apps. But recently the company has kicked its mobile Web love into overdrive, announcing a number of initiatives to dramatically improve performance of Web apps on Android. 

As summarized by Michael Bleigh:

It’s hard to even enumerate all the different ways they’re working on this. From speeding up paint to putting more workload into the GPU to providing flame charts (so cool!) in DevTools so you can figure out what causes that jank.

Those are the carrots Google is offering the world. But there are sticks, as well, and its Page Rank is the biggest stick it wields.

While Google has talked for years about the importance of the mobile Web, it really wasn’t until February that it got everyone’s attention. At that time, Google announced some upcoming changes to how it ranks mobile websites:

Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.

While great for users, it’s less great for those companies that continue to plod along the mobile path. While this change will affect small companies, it will also hit big companies like Microsoft (Windows Phone), Procter and Gamble, and more.

As if Windows Phone needed any more headwinds.

So what’s an enterprise to do?

Avoiding Mobilegeddon

For some, the answer is “Build a responsive website!” This is a great place to start and is, in fact, Google’s recommendation (and has been since 2012). 

But companies shouldn’t stop there. Mobile success isn’t ultimately a factor of making a desktop Web experience look nice on mobile devices. It’s a matter of rethinking the Web experience for mobile and, really, the complete brand experience on mobile.

When Flipkart, India’s Amazon, did this, it decided to dump its mobile website altogether and go all in on apps. For others, like MGM Resorts, the right approach has been to mostly embrace the mobile Web with a lighter app approach.

Mobile Internet usage now exceeds desktop Internet usage, and has since early 2014, according to comScore. Whether that trend has hit your particular company, however, is another matter. Some companies will have most of their site traffic coming from mobile devices, whereas others will see most from desktop browsers.

But dropping off the Google Page Rank radar is bad no matter how much of a company’s business is currently coming from the mobile Web.  

For those concerned by the changes—and if you’re not, you’re not paying enough attention—Google offers an easy way to check your site’s mobile readiness. (Relax, ReadWrite.com is Google-approved.)

Lead photo by Iwan Gabovitch

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

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