Was Google's Update Really Mobilegeddon?

Chris CrumSearch

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It turns out Google's mobile-friendly update didn't quite have the doomsday impact that some thought it might. I can't say I'm shocked. While it's clearly a significant update, these cries of "mobilegeddon" always felt a little sensational to me. While the importance of having a mobile-friendly site can't be overstated, the fact is that many sites were already mobile-friendly, and it's still just one of many signals Google uses in its algorithm.

Did you notice any significant impact from the update? Let us know in the comments.

The roll-out of the update completed about a week ago. At the time, Google's Gary Illyes implied that the amount of sites impacted was relatively low.

This came with the caveat that while the update had completed its roll-out, Google still hadn't indexed everything yet.

This week, 3Q Digital put out a report looking at the effects of the update using the Searchmetrics Mobile SEO Visibility Metric and comparing it with Sessions recorded in Google Analytics. These were the main takeaways:

– The sites that showed an increase in their Mobile SEO Visibility were leveraging site builds for dedicated mobile sites and responsive designed sites

– The one dynamically served site hasn’t seen clear benefit nor any detriment to its Mobile SEO Visibility levels

– Traffic levels for all sites do not yet show clear increased levels

– We’re only a little over a week since the update was announced; there’s a good chance we’ll begin to see latent traffic increases towards the beginning to middle of May – and beyond

Google's John Mueller weighed in on the lack of a major impact from the update in Webmaster Central hangout (via Search Engine Roundtable).

Here's what he had to say on the subject:

I think one of the difficulties here is that it is a very broad change. So while it’s had a fairly big impact across all the search results, it doesn’t mean that in every search result you will see very big changes. So that is something that affects a lot of different sites, a lot of different queries, but it is not such that the sites disappear from the search results completely if they are not mobile friendly.

On the one hand, that makes a lot of sense for the sites that aren’t able to go mobile friendly yet, maybe like small businesses who don’t have the time or the money to set their sites for that. These are results that are still fairly relevant in the search results, so we need to keep them in there some how.

The other aspect that we noticed is that a lot of sites really moved forward on going mobile. So where we expected essentially a little bit of a bigger change, because of maybe bigger sites that weren’t mobile friendly, did take the time to go mobile friendly and with that, they didn’t see that much of a change.

While the immediate impact may not have been felt far and wide in a "mobilegeddon" sense, that doesn't mean sites won't continue to see effects from this as other sites continue to make their sites mobile-friendly. Even early winners from the update could find their content knocked back down when competing pages go mobile-friendly in the future.

As Vivid Seats SEO director Bryson Meunier makes the case, "Mobilegeddon is beginning, not ending."

A survey from gShift last month, ahead of the update's roll-out, found that 52% of businesses polled expected their sites to be impacted by the update. 65% indicated they were factoring mobile SEO into their content strategies, which means that another 35% were not.

This week, Google announced the launch of the new Search Analytics report in Google Webmaster Tools. While it can be used on a much broader basis, one thing Google suggested using it for is for looking at how your site has been affected by the mobile-friendly update.

Were you affected by the update in any noticeable way? Let us know in the comments.

Image via Google

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.