The Lowdown on the Google Algorithms: The Mobilegeddon Update
Apr 12, 2018

The Mobilegeddon arrived on April 21, 2015. It has also been called Mobilepocalyse and a host of other names. Webmasters had fun with this one, but what it refers to is a mobile-friendly algorithm released by the tech giant, Google. This significant change started giving the priority ranking to mobile-friendly sites, which makes sense with the popularity of the cell phone in modern society.

People search from their cell phones all the time because they are always handy. If they are looking for a place to eat or purchase a specific item, they pull out their cell phone. If someone gets lost, they pull out their cell phone. If someone has an address to a destination but doesn't know the way, it's cell phone to the rescue!

Mobile-Friendly Sites

A large number of websites are mobile-friendly, which means they display well on a mobile device. Some steps must be taken to ensure this happens as it is not automatic. There is no gray area as far as Google is concerned: pages are mobile-friendly, or they are not. Google even offers a mobile-friendly test tool for those who are not sure or want to see how their pages display. Google is now using a mobile-first index which means if there is a mobile version of the page, it will show first.

Mobile-First Index

Google's index is intended to represent the majority of its users, which it feels are mobile users. Therefore, it is moving content to the mobile-first index. Google is now crawling the web and indexing pages from a mobile viewpoint. That means that priority rankings go to mobile-friendly pages. If a site does not have a mobile-friendly page, the desktop version will still be displayed, but the rankings will suffer.

With the mobile-first index, it is essential that all the content on each page is identical. That means the landing page on the mobile version needs to have the same material as the landing page on the desktop version. Additionally, they both need to be adequately optimized. If the mobile version differs from the desktop version, then Google search-bots will likely only see the mobile version, whether it is the best version or not. Google will now rank your site based on the signals it gets from crawling it with a mobile view.

Mobilegeddon Rollout

Once the algorithm hit the market, it wasn't as catastrophic as people anticipated. Yes, it did have a massive impact but the only organic searches that felt the heat were the ones that weren't mobile-friendly. Non-mobile-friendly pages fell in the SERPS, but they knew it was coming and chose not to act. Google was transparent about what they were doing and when they were doing it. Overall there wasn't a massive shift in rankings like many people expected.

Google anticipated the mobile shift and acted accordingly. Their suspicions were right on target, and they responded in a manner which dragged the internet kicking and screaming into the mobile market. They made it easier for people to depend on their cell phones for the information they need. It was also an excellent platform for mobile voice, which is primarily mobile-based.

It is now a necessity to ensure that your web pages have a mobile version to display. If they don't, you will plainly see a decline in rankings and traffic. That is just part of optimizing a site today, and when done correctly, it should also be mobile-friendly.

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