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Why You Should Care About the Mobile Algorithm Update

Why You Should Care About the Mobile Algorithm Update

It’s not long now until Google changes their algorithm (again) to better accommodate the surge in mobile search that has occurred within the last couple of years. Is your website ready for the update?  

Here are 5 things we know about Google’s mobile algorithm update:

  • Mobile-friendliness will officially become a ranking signal
  • According to Google, it will have a “significant impact in search results worldwide”
  • It is scheduled to happen 3 weeks from now on April 21
  • This is an all-or-none update – either your site is mobile-friendly or not. There is no in-between
  • This is a page-based update – if part of your site is mobile-friendly, then those pages will not suffer

Now the most common question we get is, “So what?”

Okay, that’s fair. For anyone who doesn’t live and breathe digital, it’s hard to gauge how or why a mobile algorithm update is monumental, but think about what a boost – or drop – in search rankings might cost your business.

Google is undoubtedly the leading search engine. In a mere second, Google processes over 40,000 searches. Not only that but they also take up the majority of web search volume worldwide, meaning that people go to Google before they go to any other search engine. 

Percent of Google searches worldwide statistics

In fact, the power of Google has crept in our very language. You don’t say “Oh, give me a sec to Yahoo that.” No, you say “Let me Google that,” and since most online sales begin on search, ranking well on Google is an incredibly important factor of online business success.

With that in mind, do you see now why the mobile algorithm update is incredibly important? Long story short, if your site is not mobile-friendly, your site will likely be demoted on Google. On the flip side, if your site is mobile-friendly by April 21, you’ll most likely get a huge boost in mobile search over your competition.

But what good are these statistics when you’re trying to convince your boss (or yourself) of the value of a mobile-friendly, responsive website?

Let’s take a look at a real life example.

As we were in the midst of our website redesign in 2013, responsive design became a big trend in the web design world. This made sense.

With mobile searches steadily growing, responsive design was a logical choice. Not only does a responsive design website configure correctly on all screen sizes, which caters to searchers on-the-go, but it’s also an easier way to manage websites.  

Therefore, as we were going through our website rebrand, we designed it with mobile users in mind – cleaner navigation, short content blocks, and of course, responsive. 

When we launched our site on March 2014, we expected traffic to increase somewhat, but what we didn’t expect is for traffic to double.

responsive design mobile traffic

That spike happened on the day we launched our brand spanking new, responsive design website. Here’s a comparison from last month’s traffic so you can better see the difference – the orange line is the previous month’s traffic, the blue is when we launched our new site:

responsive design mobile increase

Not only did our mobile bounce rates decrease but people also stayed longer on our site and explored more pages rather than closing it immediately or going back to search, which is a good thing for several reasons:

  • The deeper they explore on your site, the further they get in the sales funnel and the closer they are to purchase
  • Your site is offering a good user experience, which is good for your SEO
  • You increase your chances of them coming back to your site

Google’s mobile algorithm update is less about your keyword rankings tanking on search and more about the consequences of lower search rankings, which are essentially less traffic and lost sales.  

Don’t wait until it’s too late

If you’re looking for reasons why you should go responsive, this is it. With April 21and Google’s algorithm update looming ahead, there’s no time to waste. Don’t let your site traffic remain stagnant – or worse – just drop off. Make your site mobile-friendly and enhance your online presence.