Mobilegeddon Has Arrived. How Do You Rank Now?

Screen Shot Google mobile friendly searchDid you notice any change in visitor traffic to your website today?

An untold number of sites have, the result of Google changing how it ranks search results for users on a mobile device.

Today Google unleashed its newest search ranking update, giving priority to mobile-friendly sites and demoting those that aren’t.

The change only affects the results presented to users when searching on a smartphone or other portable, but not tablets or desktops. That’s enough of a change to be noticeable, since 50 percent of searches now come from mobile devices.

Businesses, especially small businesses, that haven’t upgraded their websites to make them mobile-friendly are particularly vulnerable to the Google change. Even if they ranked well before, now their position may be taken by a competitor that is mobile friendly and that translates into a lost customer.

Apply that scenario to a job seeker or to an employer in need of temporary workers. If they don’t know your name, are searching more generically (say, “staffing firms in my town”), the mobile-friendlies get the higher position on the search results page.

However, you should know that mobile-friendliness is one of dozens of “signals” Google uses to determine site ranking. Sites without a mobile component may still rank well on mobile devices for other reasons.

Most web managers discussing the changes today on WebmasterWorld said they detected no impact. Since Google explained it will take a week for the changes to be fully reflected in search results, that may not be surprising. And participants on the forum tend to be among the more sophisticated, so likely have had a mobile friendly site for some time.

A few, however, noted improvements in their ranking. Said one, “‘I’ve seen movement and it seems to be about a 15 percent improvement. We went fully responsive about 12 months ago, showing as “mobile friendly” in both G and Bing.”

Another noted a “huge boost.” Pages that rank on the second page from a desktop search are top of the page on a mobile search.

The Wall Street Journal reported that a few sites including Indeed.com, which is largely or entirely mobile friendly, have experienced a traffic increase recently, speculating it’s the result of early testing by Google.

John Zappe is the editor of TLNT.com and a contributing editor of ERE.net. John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.

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