Mobilegeddon: The Mobile Friendly Update

Google released a significant new mobile-friendly ranking algorithm that’s designed to give a boost to mobile-friendly pages in Google’s mobile search results.

The change is so significant that the date it happened is being referred to by a variety of names. Here at Search Engine Land, we’re calling it mobilegeddon, but sometimes it’s also referred to as mobilepocalysemopocalypse or mobocalypse.


What Was Mobilegeddon?

Google posted this message on the official Webmaster Central Blog, as they sometimes do, and explained the update in brief detail accompanied by a picture to show the difference between what mobile-friendly was and wasn’t:

This update provided no gray area. Your pages were either mobile-friendly, or they weren’t. There was no in-between.

That day in April was the official rollout of the update but wasn’t the only notification that Google gave webmasters.


Mobilegeddon: It’s Closer Than You Think

On February 26, 2015, more than two months before the official rollout, Google posted a message telling us that they would be extending the use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change was coming on April 21 and that we needed to prepare.

Google’s post started out by stating the reasoning behind the change:

“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.”

In the April 21 post, Google gave a quick three bullet list of what this update would impact:

  • Affects only search rankings on mobile devices.
  • Affects search results in all languages globally.
  • Applies to individual pages, not entire websites.

The change was straightforward and massive. Your pages were either mobile-friendly or they weren’t (a yes/no response) and it would impact everyone and roll out over the course of a week.

No matter what industry you were in, whether you sold soap or built bridges, your site would be impacted.


What’s Next?

Google’s mobile-friendly update laid the foundation for all other tweaks and updates to the mobile SERPs. It solved the problem of getting people to invest dollars into their site to make them mobile-friendly, and set the tone for our industry moving forward:

If you aren’t mobile-friendly, you aren’t allowed to hang out here anymore.

Looking ahead, this was the precursor to the impending mobile-first indexing initiative Google will someday soon roll out to the world, which will solidify the mobile experience.

While the impact of this update, in the traditional sense, may have been small, this was by far one of the most important milestones in the history of Google’s algorithms.


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