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#Mobilegeddon Scaremongering

April 24, 2015

SEOIs Google’s ‘Mobilegeddon’ the latest bit of scaremongering from the SEM quacks? If the headlines in both Australia and the US are anything to go by, the tactic is working.

Mobilegeddon is this thing where Google, on 21 April this year, changed its organic search algorithm to favour websites that had been optimised for smartphones.

The WSJ, in ‘Google’s `Mobilegeddon’ Could Affect Major Companies‘ cites research from ‘digital marketing agency Merkle | RKG, [that] 46% of Fortune 500 companies and 25% of top retailers did not have websites with “mobile-friendly” designations from Google at the beginning of April.’

In Australia, one of the local digital agencies had the same idea:

‘We took a list of the ASX 200 companies and we ran all of those companies through the Google mobile readiness tool, and what that indicated was that 51.5 per cent of the ASX 200 company websites were not deemed as mobile ready by Google, and the remaining 48.5 per cent are in good shape for the change.’

– from ‘Google’s Mobilegeddon: Fears more than half of Australia’s big companies will disappear‘, ABC News, 21 April 2015

Does it really matter if an ASX 200 or Fortune 500 company’s website isn’t optimised for mobile? Yes and no.

Yes – because there is no doubt that an increasing proportion of web browsing is happening via mobile devices.

No – for two major reasons, there is no rush for these big companies to create mobile-friendly versions of their sites.

First, these companies already have massive brand equity and recognition – turning up on the first page of a Google search is just a blip on the brand radar for them. Sure – it might have some impact on the brands in their portfolio, particularly consumer ones – but not their main corporate identity.

Second, did anyone really think that these big brands would disappear from Google searches?

Here’s what Google had to say about ‘Mobilegeddon’:

head of mobile at Google Australia, Lisa Bora, says the tag is a misconception.

“Firstly, mobile-friendliness is just one of 200 signals that we use to determine the ranking of results,” Bora says in an April 22 blog post.

– ‘Google promises sites won’t disappear‘, BRW 22 April 2015

For those smaller players and brands, anxious to climb up the rankings in Google organic searches, sure – it’s important to think about your online presence for mobile web browsing – but that’s also about the customer experience, not just your search ranking. And, if you are banking your marketing success on search engine optimisation (SEO), think again. Paraphrasing Google’s Lisa Bora, it’s just one of 200 signals that determine if someone wants to do business with you.

(Pictured above: “Search-Engine-Marketing”, By Danard Vincente, available under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) licence.)

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