The Applecado blog

The Effects of #Mobilegeddon on Responsive Websites



The recent changes may have affected a large number of high ranking websites. The biggest difference doesn't appear to be solely device based (yet?) but down to their new search algorithm. Read more about it.

In April 2015, Google had a pretty significant shake up. In February 2015, they announced they would be releasing a new search algorithm that would also evaluate the mobile friendliness of each website and organise their results accordingly.

The potential change in results wouldn’t affect searches done on desktop devices, but specifically to users who were conducting their search on mobiles or tablets.

It’s also worth mentioning, Google weren’t planning on ‘penalising’ non-mobile friendly websites, but rather others who had made the correct amendments would be boosted in these searches.

The most important thing they noted is that quality content was still prioritised, so good content was still set to appear over ‘just’ a responsive site. See our first responsive web design article here.

So, what happened on the morning of April 21st?

One study took the top ten URLS (for certain queries) on 17th April, compared them how they ranked on the 18th May.

Ultimately, the results weren’t as catastrophic as some people were predicting, however there were a huge number of websites that did suffer a drop in rankings in their review.

“Twice as many non-mobile-friendly URLS lost ranking as gained after #mobilegeddon”

The drop was much bigger for non-mobile-friendly websites, when compared to the gains made by mobile friendly ones. The URLs that made those gains were made up of mobile friendly URLs improving, mobile friendly URLs appearing in the top ten (that weren’t initially in it on April 17th) and surprisingly, over half were replaced by new non-mobile friendly URLs - because they had better quality content.

As we said before; responsive, or mobile friendly is about MORE than fitting a screen. There are many things that make up a well made responsive website. We understand how important it is to users and search engines and will bear these factors in mind when we create for our clients.

At the end of the day, it wasn’t catastrophic, but there is definite value in making websites more accessible to mobile users. Especially when we consider this is only the start of Google’s preferences for mobile layouts, it won’t hurt to stay ahead of the competition if they haven’t already embraced these changes.

If you have any questions or comments, get in touch.