Another quarter, another Google Mobile update. They seem to be coming thick and fast at the moment! If you were in any doubt before about the importance of mobile in your wider digital strategy, let’s face it… you shouldn’t be now!
Google released a statement this morning letting everyone know that as of the start of May, they will:
“start rolling out an update to mobile search results that increases the effect of the ranking signal to help our users find even more pages that are relevant and mobile-friendly.”
The ‘ranking signal’ that they’re talking about is the mobile update that we have been banging on about in previous blog posts.
Their initial announcement at that time was worded as follows:
“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”
If you take a look at Google’s previous announcements, they very rarely use a phrase like “significant impact”. It makes it clear that mobile search is a priority for Google. In turn, that means mobile SEO is a priority for Silverbean!
With the amount of data available to Google and the analysis I’m sure they’re able to perform, they’re often the best people to watch in terms of upcoming trends across the digital landscape.
Why is this second Google mobile update significant?
In isolation, this update would be important enough. The impact on the organic search landscape could be quite significant, as I said above, Google even stated that themselves!
However, it’s when you look at the entire picture that you start to realise this is a huge shift in search marketing in general.
Let’s break down the last 18 months or so, as far as announcements around Google Mobile goes:
29th October 2014 – “we’ve added the Mobile Usability feature to Webmaster Tools.”
18th November 2014 – Mobile Friendly Test Tool launched
21st April 2015 – “we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal”
20th January 2016 – “we’ve decided to provide a preview of error reports in Search Console to help you get ready for the upcoming official AMP (accelerated mobile pages) launch”
16th March 2016 – “we’re announcing that beginning in May, we’ll start rolling out an update to mobile search results that increases the effect of the ranking signal”
In under 18 months, mobile has gone from being a relative afterthought to Google, right up to being a “significant” part of the way they present search results to users and how they rank sites within mobile results.
When you consider the cumulative impact of these events, it highlights that mobile was, is and will continue to be crucial for any successful digital marketing strategy.
And Google, with the good intention of providing end users with better results, seem to have no problem penalising sites that don’t make the effort to provide users with an appropriate mobile experience.
What does this second Google mobile update mean for me or my website?
So now you know Google are serious – what are the next steps?
In all seriousness, it’s fairly black and white:
If you’re already mobile friendly – great. You’re well on the way. Keep a very close eye on your mobile traffic in the coming months. Keep checking Search Console to see if there are any mobile errors.
The chances are you’re going to see a benefit as your competitors in the SERPS start loosing positions – which is great!
If you want to know how to take things even further, check out this post – “So you passed Google’s mobile-friendly test, what next?”
If your site is not mobile friendly – it’s time to light a fire under somebody’s bottom.
As much as we hate to be the bearer of bad news – you’ve probably already fallen behind.
Don’t worry – you’ve got time to make up the ground on the competition. But the time to act is now.
Start thinking about how you can implement or improve mobile functionality on your site – if it needs extra investment, so be it.
We already know that mobile traffic is increasing at a fairly astonishing rate – take a look at this Cisco report for some really mind-boggling stats like the example below.
“Global mobile data traffic will increase nearly eightfold between 2015 and 2020. Mobile data traffic will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 53 percent from 2015 to 2020, reaching 30.6 exabytes per month by 2020”
Silverbean have been preaching the importance of mobile for a while now and made fairly spooky predictions about how quickly Google was going to ramp up the importance of Mobile. I mean we’ve even been talking about how to improve conversion rates on Mobile sites since 2014!
So in that respect, we’re pretty happy to be so far ahead of the curve.
How seriously might my traffic be impacted?
As always with these updates – it’s nearly impossible for us to say. The data just isn’t there! As talented as we are, we can’t see the future.
If I were you, I would start monitoring your mobile traffic now. Google Analytics has all the data you’ll need to closely measure the impact of this update on your own site in the coming months.
If you haven’t yet got a mobile site, it’s almost guaranteed to negatively impact you to some degree.
It sounds like I’m beating a dead horse – but seriously – get a responsive site or mobile site in place as soon as humanly possible!
There you have it.
Everything that we currently know about Google’s second mobile algorithm update in 6 months. The one thing we can tell you is that the search engine giant is really pushing mobile usability.
Unless you’re taking action now, there is a real risk of being left behind competitors that are!
If you want more information about mobile SEO or how mobile affects your wider digital marketing strategy, give us a call or send an email and we’ll be happy to advise.