The mobile apocalypse happened last April. At least, it did for mobile sites’ SEO rankings.
Google’s “mobilegeddon” altered the mobile search algorithm to include concrete parameters for mobile-friendliness, threatening the positions of many sites in Google searches. According to a new study by mobile experience software provider Moovweb, the faithful were rewarded.
The changes made big waves, causing many sites to become mobile-friendly. But Moovweb’s study shows that many mobile sites only made a bare minimum shift.
The criteria for mobile-friendliness, as defined by Google, isn’t super technical: A site must have text that’s readable without zooming, links far enough apart to tap and an absence of Flash.
Between Q1 and Q2, Moovweb found an increase in mobile-friendliness of the sites of the top 3,500 AdWords spenders from 17% to 31%. However, they found only a 3% increase in mobile optimized sites, or sites that deliver faster load times, cater to user’s device types, and are more easily useable on mobile.
About one-third of the sites that became mobile friendly also optimized for mobile experience, with variations between industries. Even in industries that had the highest rate of optimization, like transportation and retail, only about half the sites were optimized for mobile. In industries with the lowest rate, only about one in four were optimized.
Around 60% of Google’s search traffic comes from mobile users. According to an Adobe study, after mobilegeddon, sites with lower mobile engagement lost about 10% of their organic traffic. The loss in traffic triggered an increase in AdWords spending, but ads have been fairly ineffectual, with a 16% increase in cost-per-click.
Some marketers may be content to shift to mobile-friendly without optimizing. This trend could either be a stopgap measure to stay competitive on Google’s search results or just shortsighted thinking. Mobile optimized sites see higher revenue per visit (RPV) and win more search ad bids than those that are just mobile-friendly. And as new data enables cross-device targeting expanding mobile presence is the first thing marketers should be thinking.