SEO Consultant

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No one can reasonably say that they aren’t prepared for what’s coming on April 21st. Since late 2010, we have been wondering just when Google will strike sites that don’t accommodate for mobile users.

Of course, in 2010, there weren’t even that many people using internet on mobile devices. In fact, the Galaxy S wasn’t even released until June of that year, and many were still discovering the delights of the iPhone 3S.

What’s more, according to OFCOM, even by Q1 2013, only 49 per cent of people used mobile handsets to access the internet.

As little as a year later, however, that figure rose to 57 per cent.

Today, according to Mitul Ghandi of seoClarity, mobile devices make up roughly 30 per cent of search traffic, regardless of subject or industry.

Google’s Mobile Update has been a long time coming, and we’ve realistically known about it all along, so there’s not really any excuse!

According to Google’s Webmaster blog, published on February 26:

When it comes to search on mobile devices, users should get the most relevant and timely results, no matter if the information lives on mobile-friendly web pages or apps.
As more people use mobile devices to access the internet, our algorithms have to adapt to these usage patterns.

The company goes on to say that although it has in the past incorporated mobile use into many search algorithms, there shall be two major changes happening in April:

  1. Mobile friendliness will count as a ranking signal much more than it has in the past.
  2. Google will begin to use information from indexed apps as a factor in ranking for signed-in users who have the app installed.

It goes on to provide a handy mobile friendly test for webmasters worried about how their pages will cope.

The second change isn’t really relevant to this blog, but how much traffic could a website actually lose from April 22?

Recently, Rand Fishkin shared the device breakdown of different areas of the Moz website – and the numbers for mobile devices are surprisingly low.

In fact, the site could lose as little as one per cent of its traffic.

That said, Moz is still making everything more mobile friendly – though we doubt it is in fear of the looming update.

Writing for Search Engine Land, Bryson Meunier discusses just how much traffic Moz could lose in April, and finds that although the site could lose as little as one per cent of its search traffic, it could in fact lose up to 43 per cent of its mobile traffic.

And that will certainly make a difference.

He goes on to write that:

This number will be different for every site. Moz is lucky because at present, its audience is not generally using smartphones to access the type of content it provides. However, given that the norm is about 30% search access from smartphones (according to seoClarity) and that some sites have much more than half of their traffic coming from smartphones, this mobile-friendly algorithm could be very disruptive to many businesses.

And he also very kindly provides this template for people looking to check how much their own traffic may be affected.

So, how do the numbers look for you?

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  • Brandon Line

    Hi Martin!

    From where I’m standing (Poland) it looks that most small and medium companies are definitely not ready. The situation seems a bit better among enterprises.

    Bonus: a small free tool to quickly check the mobile traffic percent (for Google Analytics users):

    • Martin Woods

      Hi Brandon,

      Firstly thanks for the comment, the first on our new website!

      I think that Poland is probably very similar to the UK in terms of take up of mobile friendly websites. I think when the new ‘mobile-friendly’ algo starts rolling out tomorrow many people will get a shock!

      I’ll take a look at your tool, nice idea!