Last week Google rolled out their mobile-friendly update. Web chatter leading up to the April 21st roll-out contained headlines with phrases like “wreak havoc on small business” and “Brace Yourselves”. “Mobilegeddon” descended full force – complete with flaming asteroids and mushroom clouds.

Before we tackle “Mobilegeddon”, it’s important to understand Google’s Mobile-Friendly Algorithm.

Google’s Search Algorithm

It’s easy to take for granted the ability to find useful information on the internet. The estimated size of the web according to Google’s index is approximately 4.64 billion pages. Without the use of complex algorithms (processes and formulas that turn questions into answers), imagine how long it would take to return results for a simple search like, “cat”.

Google’s algorithms make the search process appear seamless by seeking out pages that contain the keyword(s), in our case “cat” and then assigns a rank to each page. Several factors go into this ranking, including the number of times the keywords appear on the page. In less than a second (0.38 seconds to be exact), Google can return 2,020,000,000 sites with the word cat – the top result Wikipedia.

Thousand of cat stuffed animals

If it takes .38 seconds for Google’s algorithm to deliver 2,020,000,000 results for cat, imagine how long this would take without their algorithm.

Why Should You Care?

If you’re a small business, a large business, a restaurant, the federal government … basically, anyone trying to attract customers to your online presence as a means to get to your physical presence, not being mobile-friendly could potentially result in grave losses. If you have mobile-friendly pages, you get a boost in Google’s mobile search results. If you don’t have mobile-friendly pages, you don’t get a mobile search boost.

It’s Not the End of the World

While it’s easy to be discouraged or overwhelmed by media hype and terms like mobilegeddon and mopacalypse, it’s really more like a mopportunity. With over 48% of search traffic coming from mobile phones, improving your mobile presence could result in attracting a customer base you may have inadvertently been missing.

What Should You Do?

First things first, you need to determine whether or not your site has mobile-friendly pages. Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test page and Mobile Usability Report are two tools we recommend for this:

Mobile-friendly example

Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test is a quick and easy way to assess your site’s pages.

If you receive the green bar of Google approval your page is mobile-friendly (now repeat the test for ALL of your site’s pages). If you get the red “Not Mobile-Friendly” bar, don’t panic. A benefit of the Mobile-Friendly Test Page is that Google will tell you exactly what is preventing your page from being mobile-friendly. While you’re making updates, it’s important to note that the mobile-friendly update only impacts mobile smartphone searchers (not including tablets), and will have no impact on your desktop rankings.

Embrace the Mobile-Friendly Movement

Mastering the art of mobile-optimization may feel like a massive undertaking right now. Don’t be overwhelmed, remember this is an opportunity. Focus on optimizing key pages for your business (i.e., home page, contact us), and tackle the remaining pages in order of priority.

A mobile-optimized site does not equal a viral site or even a huge spike in visits. There are numerous do’s and don’ts for mobile optimization – we’ll cover those in Part 2: 7 Simple Suggestions for Mobile Optimization.

How did you fair in Mobilegeddon, was it a mopocalypse or a mopportunity? Leave us a comment, we’d love to hear from you.