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This week, Google announced it will be boosting “the effect of the ranking signals” for its mobile-friendly ranking algorithm. While this means mobile-friendly sites will be prioritized even further in search results “beginning in May,” don’t expect the second coming of “Mobilegeddon.”

As Google said, if your site is already mobile-friendly, you have no need to fear, because “you will not be impacted by this update.”

The update is going to roll out gradually, meaning its impact will be even less noticeable.  Since the mobile-friendly algorithm runs on a page-by-page basis, it could take some time for Google to re-index all affected pages.

Between the slow rollout and the limited expected impact, the update might not seem like much to get excited about. But, if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, it means you have even more motivation to make the change before May. Even if your audience isn’t particularly likely to convert on mobile, you could be missing out on leads and traffic that is going to your competitors instead.

You can use the Google mobile-friendly tool to make sure your site passes the bar and won’t be impacted by the coming update.

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.

Google Mobile

Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm is completely rolled out, but webpages may still see some small changes in the coming days as the search engine continues to index more pages according to Gary Illyes.

Illyes, a prominent Web Trends Analyst at Google, confirmed the news on Twitter this morning by saying “the algo is rolled out” when Barry Schwartz, News Editor for Search Engine Land, asked him on Twitter “is the Google Mobile algorithm fully rolled out?”

The algorithm is the most talked about shake-up from Google since the implementation of the Penguin and Panda algorithms, but the lion’s share of panic appears to be unwarranted as the majority of webmasters saw little to no changes in the wake of the latest rollout.

While Gary Illyes did confirm the algorithm is fully rolled out, he added one concession:

Not all pages were reindexed yet so they don’t have the new scores. Yet.

Also, there were a load of sites that became MF recently, so the actual number of sites affected decreased considerably.

Even with that caveat, the likelihood of significant changes coming in the next few days is unlikely.

Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm started rolling out Tuesday, and so far it looks like “mobilegeddon” was far from apocalyptic. Most SEO’s and webmasters are reporting little change to their rankings and the world has continued spinning.

However, a report from Google shows one way the new algorithm had an impact before it even arrived.

Shortly before the start of the mobile-friendly roll-out, Google announced it had seen a “4.7% uptick in the proportion of sites that are mobile friendly” compared to their previous stats released two months ago.

While 4.7% may seem like a small number of sites, it is important to consider the number in the context of the absolutely huge number of sites that are not being maintained and offer little value but are currently still resolving. It also shows many webmasters began to realize the importance of going mobile in the wake of the advancing algorithm.

Expect to see even more sites make the change in the coming weeks as the new algorithm begins to have a more pronounced effect and word spreads.

Mobilegeddon

Mobilegeddon

In less than 24 hours, we will all be living in a post-“Mobilegeddon” world. That means Google’s mobile friendly update will start rolling out tomorrow after months and months of rumors and hints. Normally Google doesn’t announce upcoming algorithm changes ahead of time – perhaps because it creates a panic – however this time the company gave webmasters plenty of time to make sure they are prepared.

Basically, the mobile friendly algorithm aims to make sure users who are searching with smartphones are only shown sites that are properly optimized for mobile devices.

Given that Google has been heavily implying this day would come for over a year, it is slightly surprising to see the number of panicked webmasters. Google has given brands every opportunity to ensure their sites are up to snuff, but Zineb Ait Bahaiji of Google’s Webmaster Trends team confirmed the algorithm will have the largest impact of any of Google’s recent algorithms.

Google’s Penguin and Panda algorithms are infamous for their impact on search results pages, but Bahaiji told the crowd at SMX Munich that the mobile algorithm would absolutely affect more than either animal-themed algorithms.

Panda affected 12% of search queries when it was released, while Penguin impacted 3.1% of queries.

If you are concerned your site isn’t prepared for the oncoming “Mobilegeddon”, check out our previous coverage to see what you need to do to appease the search engine’s new algorithm. You can also check to see your site’s status by using Google’s mobile friendly testing tool.