5 Reasons Google's "Mobilegeddon" Shouldn't Make You Panic
It's been dubbed Mobilepocalypse, Mobilegeddon, and Mopocalypse. Whatever fear-inducing term you assign it, Google's impending Mobile-Friendly update has webmasters the world over in panic mode. But before you consider stockpiling resources and building a mobile bomb shelter, you should take a deep breath and relax. It's probably not going to be that bad.
Let's state the obvious first: You should be optimized for mobile. It's 2015. The "Year of Mobile" has been here for most of the decade. Why are you still providing a terrible mobile experience for your audience? Don't you know you are losing customers left and right?
Okay, now that we have that out of the way, let's look at the reality of Google's Mobile-Friendly deadline. Yes, it's a big deal. For a few reasons:
- It's the first time Google has ever announced a firm date for a major update
- It's (reportedly) going to have a bigger impact than Panda and Penguin
- If you don't have the mobile-friendly label, you will most likely lose some mobile traffic
All that's good to know, but what does it really mean for your website?
Let's assume you won't be able to make your site mobile friendly by April 21st. Given that it's only two weeks from today, the odds are against you at this point. And that's okay. You aren't going to go out of business because of this. Here's why:
1. Mobile-Friendly is One Ranking Factor, Not the Only One
Many people seem to discuss mobile-friendly like it's the only thing. It's important to remember that this is a single ranking factor. There are hundreds, possibly thousands of ranking factors. While mobile-friendly might be a major one, it isn't the only one. The fact that your site isn't mobile friendly doesn't mean you will be dropped from the search results. This is not an all-or-nothing penalty that Google is imposing on you. Just how much will it affect your site's search visibility? That depends on your competition and the health of your website in other areas. If you're ranking well now and not many of your competitors are mobile friendly either, then you probably don't have much to worry about at all. And if you aren't ranking well now, then you don't have much to lose anyway.
2. Mobile-Friendly Shouldn't Affect Branded Traffic
No matter how much mobile search traffic you are getting, a good majority of it is probably branded traffic. You shouldn't lose much of this traffic. Remember, mobile-friendly is one ranking factor. No amount of mobile optimization should make someone else rank better for your brand name. That would be a horrible search experience and a major disservice to Google's users. Google's purpose in the mobile-friendly update isn't to take your traffic away. Rather, it's to make sure the search results provide the best user experience possible on those devices. Serving up something the user doesn't want just because it looks good on a particular device would be ridiculous. Come April 21st, your organic mobile traffic will not drop to zero no matter how horrible your site looks on mobile devices.
3. Mobile-Friendly Can Only Affect Your Organic Mobile Traffic (Which Might Not Be That Much)
We've all heard the data. Google believes about 50% of all searches are done on mobile. Many people say mobile usage has overtaken desktop usage (which is primarily true only because of massive amounts of mobile usage on a handful of apps). But how much mobile traffic are you really getting? And how much of that mobile traffic is coming from organic search? While we have seen some websites with 80% of traffic coming from mobile, many sites are still well under 25% (and some are only around 10%). When you look at organic mobile traffic, that number is even smaller. Just how much the mobile-friendly update will impact you depends on how much organic mobile traffic you are getting. And it really only depends on how much non-branded organic mobile traffic you are getting. Depending on your industry, this might be a very small portion of your traffic.
4. Your Mobile Traffic Probably Wasn't Converting Anyway
Let's say you do lose a chunk of your traffic due to the mobile-friendly algorithm. This might not be the worst thing in the world. Chances are, your mobile visitors weren't converting anyway. Your site was providing a poor user experience on mobile devices. Most of your mobile visitors were probably frustrated with your site and so far away from converting that they might as well have never landed on your page. Heck, your loss of mobile traffic might result in lower bounce rates and higher conversion rates.
5. Mobile-Friendly Is Not an Insurmountable Update
Google has announced that the Mobile-Friendly algorithm will update in real-time. It's not like Penguin where you have to wait months or even a year for a refresh. If you aren't ready by April 21st, then you can still optimize for mobile anytime thereafter. As soon as you achieve that coveted mobile-friendly status, you should qualify for any ranking boost that's associated with it. In other words, you don't have to rush to pull together an inferior mobile product. Update your site at your own pace. Do it the right way.
Mobilegeddon has certainly been hyped up, but mobile is not overhyped. No matter how much mobile traffic you're getting now, it's only going to go up. April 21st won't be the death of your business, but mobile needs to be a priority. The bottom line is that you need to provide an optimal user experience on all devices. If your website isn't mobile friendly, it should be. It should have been years ago. But you don't necessarily need to do it for Google. You need to do it for your users.