If you’re a web developer or involved in SEO, you’ve probably heard of mobilegeddon already. If not, it’s coming your way April 21st, and here’s a quick run-down:
Back in February, Google, the overlord of the internet search (joking . . . mostly), published a blog post about their next search algorithm update. While that’s not unusual, the content of this blog post has far-reaching effects. Essentially, Google recognizes the direction of the wind — towards mobile devices and away from standard desktops. Mobile searches, if they haven’t already, should eclipse desktop searches soon. While desktop searches will return results in much the same way they do now, mobile searches will penalize sites that aren’t mobile-friendly.
What does that mean for you? It could mean that your site won’t display when someone searches your optimized keywords on a mobile device, if you fail Google’s mobile-friendly test. This is kind of a big deal, since you’ve probably invested a bunch of hours and a bunch of money into SEO, which means showing up high on search results. Hence, the web-world-wide freak-out that’s happening right now.
With less than two weeks to go, it’s understandable that you might be concerned, especially if your site gets a big F on the mobile-friendly test. However, there’s no need to rend your clothing or tear our your hair. Even if you can’t get your site optimized for mobile by April 21, putting it on the top of your to-do list and making it a priority is a good business decision.
Google won’t put you in the back of the class permanently, and when you’re ready, you can submit your mobile-friendly site to Google. While it’s not clear how long they’ll take to check it out, you will be able to get back into their good graces. And your customers/clients/audience will thank you when they visit your site from their smart phones and don’t have to play squinty-eyed-zoom-and-scroll just to read a few lines of text. I initially wrote about the new trend of responsive design back in 2012. It’s three years later, and if your site isn’t responsive yet, you are behind the times.
(Suggested read: Putting Mobilegeddon in Perspective)
For starters, you can always reach out to me! Every site I build these days is responsive, and I’ve taken steps to ensure that my clients’ websites are ready for mobilegeddon. If you’re running a CMS like Joomla! or WordPress, you can also find a basic, responsive theme/template and drop that in place, or install a plugin that switches to a mobile-friendly design when it detects mobile devices. While both of these are stop-gap measures that should ultimately be replaced by something more permanent, they will help ensure you don’t slip down in the rankings after April 21st.
You can also check out this handy Mobilegeddon Survival Checklist that I stumbled upon. While it does get a bit technical, it also considers some of the more important aspects of mobile-friendliness, and at the very least will give you some talking points to discuss with your developer of choice. It’s also important to remember the ultimate motivation behind algorithm updates like this one – Google wants people to have the best search experience possible. That’s what you should want, too, for your audience. Designing and building your site to be mobile-friendly is no longer just a nice idea, but a must-have for any organization that’s serious about its presence on the world wide web.