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Mobilegeddon: Your 5 Step Post-Apocalyptic Survival Guide


May 12, 2015

If you are in charge of a website in any function, it will come as no surprise that the Google Algorithm update rolled out on 4/21 (dubbed Mobilegeddon) has sent shock waves through the development and SEO community. There is a lot of confusion around what the purpose of the update was and what impact it would have on your website. Now that the dust has started to settle, we are starting to get a clearer picture of how the Mobilegeddon update has and will continue to impact your websites performance.  To ensure that you ride the wave of the Mobilegeddon update, as opposed to crashing and burning in its aftermath, make sure to follow the 5 post-apocalyptic survival guide steps below.

Prior to diving into the list, it is important to keep in mind the following terms, since they can be confusing:

  • Mobile Friendly: Refers to if your site properly displays and is functional on a mobile device
  • Responsive Site: A site dynamically resizes itself based on screen size, across all devices
  • Mobile Site: A separate version of your site that was built for mobile use, often with an “m.” appearing in front of the standard URL.
  • Mobile App: An application developed for use on cell phones and tablets with normally less content than a website
  • Check the mobile friendliness of your site:

There are some great free tools out there that will help you check to see if your site is mobile friendly. and are two great options. If your site passes Google’s “mobile friendly” test, then you are off to a good start. The next thing you can do is to check the responsiveness of the site to ensure that it is displaying properly across all screen sizes.

  • Stop thinking of mobile / desktop UX as two different things.

In the past, it was common practice to develop one site for desktop use and another site for mobile use. With advancements in how mobile devices can display content and the increase in nonstandard display sizes (think MacBooks and Chrome Books), the best way to approach user experience isn’t by segmenting the two platforms, but instead, building a property that can live across any screen or device. When you start to think about user experience taking place across multiple screens of different sizes is when you will really start to design and develop your site with the end user in mind.

  • Create great content that lives on any platform.

Making sure that you are creating content for your audience is step 1. If you are not creating relevant and engaging content, it doesn’t matter if your site is mobile friendly or not because your audience will have no reason to visit your site in the first place. While creating content, it is critical to make sure that the content can live across any platform.

Infographics and visual aids are a great way to display content on various screen sizes, but they can also be built to be fully responsive. Video content can be optimized for mobile usage by setting the video to resize automatically (1080p HD vs Standard Resolution) based on the device it is on. Make sure to avoid any content that would require the user to hover their mouse over an object because this feature is almost impossible to use properly on a mobile device.

  • Develop your future mobile strategy (if you don’t already have one)

There are a few things to consider when building your future mobile strategy including, but not limited to: Do I just build a mobile site? Should I build a site that is mobile responsive? Could I develop an App instead? All of these questions need to be addressed as part of your larger business strategy going forward. It is also important to dive into your analytics to see how mobile users are engaging with your brand differently than just a standard desktop user.

For some brands, being mobile friendly is enough for their audience. For others, they live or die by their mobile presence. If you find that the majority of your target audience falls into the Millennial category, not only do you need top notch mobile properties, but you need an entire strategy on how to engage with your audience across various mobile platforms and how to ensure your content can cut through all of the clutter.

  • Keep calm, develop your plan, and work the plan.

Many individuals feared that if they were not mobile friendly on 4/21 that their site would cease to exist in the search engine rankings. However, the truth of the matter is this is not the case at all. While some websites that are not mobile friendly have seen some moderate decreases in traffic, in some cases, we found non-mobile friendly sites actually had increases in mobile traffic after the update.

Ultimately, this will be a slow roll out over time as opposed to a knee jerk reaction. Google’s goal isn’t to punish those who have built a site that isn’t mobile friendly, rather, their goal is to help guide the future down a path of uniform mobile friendliness. There is no hiding the fact that mobile usage continues to grow, and in order for Google to do their job to the best of their ability, they need to ensure that the amount of mobile friendly sites and content grow in line with the increase usage of mobile devices.