Yes, Google updated. No, the world isn’t ending.

Yes, Google updated. No, the world isn’t ending.

They’re calling it Mobilegeddon. Googlepocalypse. Y2K 2015. Yes, it’s the beginning of the end of online life as we know it – or at least, according to social media.

In reality, on April 21st, 2015, Google released an algorithm update designed to make mobile content more accessible to users and to help create a versatile new mobile website index. Predictably, everybody panicked.

“Reports of my Death have been Greatly Exaggerated.” – the Internet.

According to the updates, as of April 21st, 2015:

1. Mobile compatibility or ‘mobile-friendliness’ is now part of Google’s pagerank criteria.

2. Mobile apps will now be index, filtered, and featured more prominently when searched.

This means that webmasters with exclusively mobile or mobile-friendly sites will now get a page ranking bonus, and webmasters without – well, won’t. Although tablets will not be affected by the change, desktop-only sites (regardless of pre-existing rank) may not appear to mobile users the way they would for desktop users, or may not appear at all. Already crawling through mountains of CSS and JavaScript code, the Googlebot is systemically determining who stays and who goes, which (admittedly) doesn’t bode well for those without a responsive mobile design.

Purportedly the eCommerce disaster of the century, expert analysts are confident that while the new update does mean that how we use the web is changing, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. According to research, 94% of smartphone users search web content on the go, and 77% of users search mobile content even if there is a desktop available. In other words, Google didn’t change the browsing game, users did. But, that said, they definitely cornered the market on the rulebook.

You can Lead a Horse to Water, but you Can’t Take Away his iPhone 6.

Frankly put, if your content is unreadable because you have made your audience unreachable that spells game over. No matter how fabulous your desktop-based webpage, if your site isn’t available whenever and wherever, someone else’s will be. Individuals and entities serious about their web presence have effectively been told to step up their mobile game, or risk getting permanently benched.

In response to this, businesses without a flexible mobile option have been scrambling to catch up in an effort to preserve their company’s existing brand identity and online brand development – and actually, that was the idea. Google’s all-or-nothing approach to encouragement is best described as sink or swim; the majority of today’s internet users view content on a mobile device, so it stands to reason that the majority of content should be formatted for mobile viewing.

Like it or hate it, Google’s update might have forced the changes millions of businesses needed to stay competitive in today’s market.

Here is a handy way to check if your website is mobile friendly:

https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

Need help making your website responsive?  Feel free to give Dan a shout at dan@swiftwhale.com or 206 453 3690.