The End Wasn’t Near
You can hear the fear in your clients voice, or in the tone of their emails. You can tell they’re clearly concerned and wondering if they should run to the local Costco to store up on all the bottled water and duct tape they can fit onto a family sized push cart. “Tell me about this mobile…geddon?” they say as they try to steady their voice and project an air of concerned confidence.
This is the scene that much of the blogosphere has been painting mere days after the launch of Google’s latest mobile algorithm (dubbed “mobilegeddon”) – buildings are still standing, the oceans haven’t turned to blood, and human society hasn’t devolved into a lawless, Mad Max-style wasteland. Why is this? Because the mobile algorithm change simply wasn’t that big … and it was never intended to be, either.
The algorithm update was only ever going to affect mobile search results. It has no effect on desktop search results. Admittedly, mobile search has become a bigger part of Google’s business, so much so that Matt Cutts predicted that mobile searches would surpass desktop searches in 2014 (Sorry, Matt, you were at least a year early). This may seem significant but this will differ depending on your company and industry. I’ve seen some sites receive 70-80% of their traffic from mobile while I’ve seen others with 5%. The impact is going to vary depending on your business and industry.
Whether you get a large portion of your traffic from mobile or desktop, branded searches most likely won’t be affected. John Mueller, Google’s heir-apparent spokesperson to Matt Cutts, stated in a Gchat conference discussion that “…it’s something where I’d say there is no effect at all on branded queries…”. While there is certainly more to the quote, John goes on to say that this algorithm is likely one where they will “demote the sites a little bit” for not being mobile optimized but they will still be the most relevant result for branded terms.
So if you’re not mobile optimized, you will likely only lose non-branded traffic.
“The mobile algorithm change simply wasn’t that big … and it was never intended to be, either.”
I realize the more valuable keywords are the non-branded keywords; that these represent users who were not previously aware of your business. At this point though, you’re looking at a “slight demotion” to a portion of your mobile traffic (depending on how much of your traffic comes from branded search terms.)
Despite the recent uproar and the moniker “mobilegeddon” this algorithm change won’t have much of an impact on many sites, at least not one deserving this type of hysteria. Don’t mistake my message as an excuse to not create a mobile optimized site though. Google has been very clear in the recent past that they will be focusing on mobile and this algorithm is definitive proof of how serious they really are. Mobilegeddon isn’t the end though, and it certainly wasn’t the beginning.