Now unless you have been residing under a rock or meandering across the Aussie Outback you will have heard the chatter all about ‘Mobile’ and the action Google is taking. If not, let’s give you a brief overview of what has occurred in the world of Search these past few months.
Google announced in early 2015 that they would be rolling out a Mobile Update. This in itself was unusual as Google likes to keep algo updates under wraps and allow for heavy speculation instead. This got the world of search in a frenzy about what and how to get their mobile websites ready for the impending algorithm update, also named #Mobilegeddon. There was so much talk about how big this update was going to be and how it would affect search. Many words like ‘significant’, ‘impending’, ‘bigger than Panda & Penguin’ were thrown around. Many predictions and speculation was made about what percentage of search queries would be affected by #Mobilegeddon. Panda affected around 13% of search queries, Penguin affected 4%. Webmasters were predicting the mobile update to affect 14% or more. Some websites predicted up to 40% of Fortune 500 websites would be affected by this update.
Many webmasters didn’t know the extent of the update and how quickly they needed to create a mobile friendly website. Luckily, Google provided a tool to test your site and the individual pages called ‘Mobile-Friendly Test’.
Here are some #Mobilegeddon facts;
- The mobile update rolled out on 21st April 2015.
- The update took about a week to roll out.
- It only affected mobile search results – not desktop results as some believed.
- The update looked at page level, not site wide as some suspected.
- It was real-time.
- There was no middle ground, by this we mean your website pages are either mobile friendly or not.
For further facts on this update take a look at Google’s FAQs which should cover any questions you have about the mobile update.
How The Mobile Update Really Affected Search Queries
After all these predictions and mass panic in the Search community, what was the actual impact of the Mobile algorithm update? Google stated during a G+ hangout that “we are surprised at the number of websites that became mobile friendly before the update.” This has meant the mobile update was not as ‘significant’ as most believed.
But this doesn’t mean there weren’t any losers. Some large brands didn’t react in time to the mobile update (despite the warnings). Let’s look at what happened to some of these brands…
Next.co.uk is a big name brand that suffered at the hands of Google’s Mobile update. But actually, it’s a bit of a strange one.We can see after 21st April that Next.co.uk was impacted by the update, with a huge drop by 38% of its visibility according to Searchmetrics.
Reviewing their website today, they have seen an increase in Mobile SEO Visibility by 29.8% – but as you can see they are still nowhere near their desktop visibility that is still looking healthy.
After further research we found they have a dedicated mobile site on http://m.next.co.uk/. But this doesn’t rank in mobile searches at all…why? Because they don’t have it configured properly.
Next.co.uk currently don’t have their desktop site re-directing to their dedicated mobile site when searched on a mobile device. Their mobile robots.txt file is blocking any bots crawling and indexing the dedicated mobile site:
Plus, if you search ‘next.co.uk mobile’ you are also shown these search results:
Next.co.uk has another URL that is meant for mobile search www.next.co.uk/mobile and here you are asked if you want mobile or desktop. Choosing Mobile you are re-directed to the dedicated mobile website, and clearly someone at Next is tracking who is choosing the dedicated mobile site –
http://m.next.co.uk/?utm_campaign=redirect&utm_medium=localurl&utm_source=NextMobileRedirect – but if they have taken the time to track this process surely someone must have picked up on the Mobile site being non-existent in search results.
Despite this, Next.co.uk is still appearing in mobile search results with desktop URLs. We can see below for the keyword ‘Mens Clothes UK’ they are ranking on the first page in a sea of mobile-friendly websites; in fact they are the only one that isn’t flagged by Google as mobile-friendly. How are they still ranking in position 2?