When I first heard that Google was officially going to integrate mobile-friendliness into their search ranking algorithms, my first reaction was surprise… surprise that it had taken them this long to do so.
I assumed that some level of mobile-friendliness had been affecting search results for quite some time (and still believe this) and they just hadn’t felt like it needed any kind of public statement or fanfare.
What shocked me even more however was the public’s reaction to this announcement. News articles, bloggers, NPR, the media and segments of the public were behaving like the residents of a coastal city during a flash flood.
There was panic in the streets! Screaming, fear and downright indignation that such a thing could happen. Why would Google want to do such a thing?
Now, I am of course exaggerating, but I did find the public response to this odd for a few reasons (which I am of COURSE going to tell you).
I’ve Been Developing Responsive Websites For Years
This first point is really a callout to anyone in my industry who was surprised or frustrated by this news, including designers, developers and SEOs. This surprised you. Really?
Since I started Nerdy House Media several years ago, I have always developed responsive websites.
For one, I love UI / UX, and responsive designs are just cool. More importantly though, it’s always made sense to me. The mobile statistics were there and have been rising for years, so it just became a part of my development process. (kind of like semantic markup when I can).
So to the web professionals out there who weren’t up to date with their mobile development skills when this announcement hit, you need to start reading and experimenting more. Or stop gaming your clients. More on that shortly.
For The General Public
I can surely forgive the general public for being a bit more caught off guard here. So I will start with a couple points that will hopefully alleviate SOME of the stress.
- This change really only applies to searches on mobile phones… for now
- This is ONE factor amongst many, and if your site lacks in mobile friendliness but is strong in other areas, the game isn’t necessarily over for you just like that
But now I have to address a few groups individually amongst the general public. This is your reality check, so don’t get too mad at me.
To Those Who Use Smartphones
This surprised you. Really?
I can only speak for myself here, but when I visit a website that is not optimized for my phone on my phone it is an incredibly sub par experience. It can be legitimately angering. I guarantee that many reading this feel the same way. And let’s think about this logically. A website that is optimized for my phone is more relevant to me when I’m on my phone. Google’s goal is to return relevant search results, well… and to sell advertising, but you get the picture. So ya, You probably should have seen this coming.
To Those With Remarkably Outdated Websites
This always bothers me for many reasons, although I am a developer, so I am a little biased. I am amazed by the amount of Flash filled, table layout websites I still see on a nearly daily basis. It makes me cringe.
But regardless, this is how I want you to think about it for a second. Your website is your 20 year old car. You’ve been driving it forever, and it’s gotten you from point A to point B. Every now and then you have to put a little work into it, but hey, it still runs.
But then, one day, the engine freezes up completely and the mechanic quotes you so much to fix it that you’re better off letting that old jalopy die and getting a new car.
Well my friend.
That’s what just happened to your website.
To Those Who Got Taken Advantage Of
This group, I feel pretty bad for. If you’ve had a website developed in the past few years, your developer (in my opinion) should have at least discussed the mobile options you had available if they weren’t already included in the project. If it was an extra expense, so be it, but at least there was full disclosure.
What I find pretty subversive is that a lot of development firms likely knew this was coming, and knew their clients would be scrambling to pay top dollar for a mobilized version of their site.
The client of course wouldn’t have seen this coming the way the developer should have.
I wasn’t afraid of “Mobilegeddon” one bit.
Neither were my clients.
For the past few years, since I started Nerdy House Media, I have always provided responsive websites without fuss.
When this new algorithm update hit, I knew my clients wouldn’t be scrambling to overhaul their websites, and for that matter that my website would fare just fine.
I’ve known for a long time that it’s imperative to have a mobile ready website.
Makes me wonder what other kinds of things I’m prepared for in the future that will cause this kind of uproar?
photo credit: Bombers via photopin (license)
photo credit: Terrifying Vision via photopin (license)