Google formally launched its mobile-friendly algorithm, the so-called Mobilegeddon update, on 21st April this year, but more than three months later, a considerable number of brands and companies have failed to get mobile-friendly sites up and running. New research from Moovweb, a San Francisco-based mobile specialist, suggests that the failure to become mobile-friendly has obvious consequences for a site in terms of visibility and ranking, not to mention in terms of usability.
Since the roll-out of the algorithm, Moovweb has been busy analysing what it terms “1,000 important e-commerce keywords in a range of industries”, with the objective of determining how the mobile-friendly update has affected mobile rankings in Google search results.
The research shows that 83 per cent of the time, the top result in search queries on Google was a mobile-friendly one. In addition, the top three results were mobile-friendly 81 per cent of the time. It was also found that in respect of the Google mobile search engine results page (SERP), a total of 77 per cent – or put another way, 7.7 out of 10 – results were mobile-friendly.
Moovweb’s findings beg the question: under which circumstances is Google acting to facilitate results that are not mobile-friendly in the remainder of cases, and why would it be doing so?
The research does suggest that some sectors have been more ready for the mobile update than others. Out of seven categories examined, the sector found to be the most mobile-ready is retail. At the other end of the spectrum, transportation is the sector showing the lowest percentage of results deemed mobile-friendly with respect to the keywords examined.
There has been considerable debate about the actual effect of Mobilegeddon across different sectors and industries, but as this research makes very clear, non-mobile-friendly sites are, in a general sense, being impacted negatively by the roll-out of this particular Google update. One thing is clear: marketers working on sites that are not yet mobile-friendly need to start updating them immediately. Aside from that immediate priority, sites need to be offering the type of experience that meets the needs of searchers using smartphones for browsing and sourcing information.