Google reported last week that about 5% more sites have adapted to the new “mobile friendly” badge requirements, which launched this past Monday (April 21st). Google said, “we’ve seen a 4.7% uptick in the proportion of sites that are mobile friendly, and we hope to see even more in the coming months.”
The badge (see the “Mobile Friendly” tag in the image at right) represents a significant change in the Google algorithm, which is reported to have a greater effect than either the Panda or Penguin updates did last year – which would mean more than 11% of search results would be affected.
Scott Ellis, SVP of Client Solutions for Adworthy, a data-driven paid media optimization and SEO advisory firm, said that the mobile usability update is only focused on organic searches from smartphones, not tablets and not desktops. “Sites that are mobile-friendly will benefit in the organic rankings, appearing higher in the SERP; therefore, sites that aren’t mobile friendly won’t,” he said. Mobile usability issues are flagged in your webmaster tools account (WMT).
“Non-mobile friendly sites will see their organic ranking suffer or drop subject to relative index competition,” he said. “However, we’re also expecting to see an impact on your paid media campaigns with organizations that have weaker mobile sites needing to bid higher just to maintain current visibility levels. With this in mind, campaign targeting and bidding will be key factors to focus on as part of a broader ‘user-first’ web strategy.”
Adworthy offers a free Mobile PPC Audit to help marketers set priorities and become familiar with the best resources. Publisher SearchEngineLand, who has been calling this update “Mobilegeddon,” has published extensive coverage and FAQs.
Google’s stated intent behind this update is to help consumers search more effectively and comfortably on mobile devices. Certainly, more and more searches are happening on mobile formats – including most local searches. Customer experience moves between devices all the time, and some channels, like search and email, are increasingly moving to mobile. Keeping your website optimized for the Google algorithms is always a way to stay in the #TopRight.