Google “Mobilegeddon” Rolls Out: Let’s Get the Facts Straight

A few hours ago, Google officially rolled out its mobile-friendly algorithm across the globe. This is an update that seeks to reward sites that offer mobile-friendly user experiences on its search results for mobile devices.

From the time it was announced, the update sent tremors throughout the SEO community. People, it  seemed, were bracing for the worst as they nicknamed April 21st “Mobilegeddon” – but is that an accurate description?

Google’s Webmaster Blog just published a post that offered some clarifications on what we can expect from the update. The language was straightforward and there’s really no need to over-analyze and try to read between the lines:

  • This is not a web spam action. The update doesn’t seek to punish bad sites. It aims to reward sites that offer good mobile experiences.
  • Being mobile friendly, by Google’s definition, means that users don’t have to zoom in to read your text when using mobile devices. It also means having big buttons, legible fonts and easy-to-click links.
  • The best way to test your site’s mobile friendliness is with this tool.
  • The update will affect ONLY the mobile SERPs. Desktop and tablet searches should see no changes.
  • Don’t be surprised if you see no changes to the mobile search results today. The update will roll out steadily in the next few weeks.
  • This update doesn’t affect entire websites. It affects the SERPs on a per-page level. Just because you have a few non-mobile friendly pages doesn’t mean your entire site will diminish in mobile search visibility.
  • It’s still possible to rank high even if you’re not mobile friendly. Mobile-friendliness is just one ranking factor and other factors can compensate for or overpower it.
  • You can “recover” from ranking drops brought about by this update. You just need to make your site better-suited for mobile devices and Google will automatically discover the adjustments in succeeding crawls. You can make the process faster by using the Fetch as Google function on Webmaster Tools.
  • Linking to non-mobile friendly sites does NOT affect your own site’s ability to rank on mobile SERPs
  • The standard sizing for top targets is 7mm width/height for primary tap targets and a minimum margin of 5mm between secondary tap targets. Other variations may apply.
  • Mobile Internet use now accounts for 60% of all online activities. Mobile is not the future of the Web: it’s here and it’s all around us.

Ultimately, this update is all about getting with the times and caring about general user experience. If you’ve been keen on both, you’re probably running mobile sites anyway and you shouldn’t have anything to fear. Being a small site is not an excuse. Mobile responsive themes for popular platforms like WordPress can be used for free or at very low costs. This is not a move to broaden the gap between big and small players on the Web. It’s about showcasing sites that invested in mobile technology to mobile users.