This year seems to have seen an unusual amount of apocalyptic prophecies made, and so far at least… unfulfilled. If you are like us here at Fluid, and you live and breath digital marketing; then the Doomsday prophecy of April 21 was perhaps the most intimidating one of all. Earlier this year the search engine giant Google began to issue warnings of an impending update to their search algorithm. Rumors began to fly (as they always do when Google announces an update) that this update would severally punish sites that were not optimized for Mobile users. Generating sensational headlines like the following: (gathered by Marketing Land)
- “Google Inc’s ‘Mobilegeddon’ Could Alienate Nearly Half of Its Top Websites” – Motley Fool.
- “Google’s ‘Mobile-Friendly’ Update Could Impact Over 40% Of Fortune 500 Websites” – TechCrunch.
- “Are you ready for Googles Mobilegeddon Phonepocalypse .” – Gizomodo.
Yeah…Pretty dramatic stuff isn’t it? Now maybe it was fear, maybe it was excitement, maybe it was a combination of both, but it seemed that the whole digital world was swept up and consumed with mobile optimization during the days leading up to April 21.
So what happened on that fateful day? Did the mobile world cannibalize the desktop world? Did fortune 500 websites disappear from page 1 of Google to the graveyard known as “Page 2?” Did your website lose half of its traffic in one fell swoop? You already know the answer. Not much happened. Most sites were relatively unaffected by the update. The average affect on page rankings was a drop in .21 spots for non mobile friendly sites on desktop.
We all saw what happened (or what didn’t happen), so the question becomes: why? Was this the result of over sensationalized press about the hype? It is unclear if Google ever really intended April 21 to become such an infamous day in their history or not. Some have suggested that sites have developed such good user experiences for their sites (mobile and desktop) that they unintentionally protected themselves from the update.
Whatever the reason, one thing became very clear on April 21: User experience trumps all. Some have suggested that SEO is dying; this is a topic for another time but what we keep hearing over and over again is that building your website for your users instead of for Google is one of the most important SEO tactics you can apply. Designing for quality UX means optimizing for mobile. It means providing information for you visitors that is accurate, relevant, unique, and interesting; all important factors for SEO. It seems that the Mobilegeddon update of April 21 might have been nothing more that Google trying to reinforce that idea.
So how do you protect your self from future apocalyptic updates? Well it’s really quite simple. Follow best practices for SEO, user experience, and keep up to date. Do everything with your customer in mind. They should be your first priority, not your page rankings. Take care of the customer and Google will take care of you.
(image source: http://marketinglegal.co)