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Google Mobile

Most reports have made Mobilegeddon out to be a farce with only a small effect on Google’s search results overall. New analysis from digital agency Koozai, however, suggests small and medium businesses (SMB) felt quite an impact when Google rolled out their mobile friendly algorithm.

According to Koozai’s May survey of 2,000 SMB’s with 50 or fewer employees, nearly half (46%) of all respondents reported experiencing changes in ranking. Of that group, 41 percent also saw a drop in rankings by at least three spots. This may not sound like much, but a drop in just one or two rankings can have huge impacts on traffic.

“The hype that the Google mobile update would cause carnage in the search engine rankings missed the larger picture,” says Ben Norman, chief executive (CEO) of Koozai. “Exaggerating the impact meant that businesses didn’t anticipate that even small changes in their ranking can have a big impact on their organic mobile search results.”

Norman says much of the confusion is due to the idea that a single algorithm is the deciding factor when determining ranking. Google uses over 200 different factors to rank pages on search results pages, but some were led to believe the mobile optimization would be the ultimate deciding factor. On the contrary, 27 percent of businesses in Koozai’s survey reported drops in rankings despite having optimized their sites for mobile.

This leads many business owners to feel like they are being punished after acting on Google’s warnings, which Norman says illustrates how frequently SMBs are poorly educated on SEO and fail to understand e-commerce analytics.

“Many consumers today will research on mobile and then purchase on desktop,” he says. “Many SMBs are missing out on these lead-creation opportunities if they don’t know if their e-commerce sites aren’t giving their potential customers a good experience on mobile.”

Of the businesses involved, 37 percent said they were worried the mobile friendly algorithm update would impact their sales while 44 percent said they were not concerned because the majority of their sales come from desktop shopping. Nearly half said they were unsure about the relationship between devices and could not say whether mobile influenced their desktop sales. In addition, 12 percent did not know whether their sites had been optimized for mobile at all.

There were predictions well before the release of the algorithm that small and medium businesses would be the most likely to be impacted by ‘Mobilegeddon’, but many reviews of the algorithm’s effects failed to consider the disparity in their post-Mobilegeddon analysis.