Mobilegeddon: Google Mobile Search Update Explained

on SEO October 10th, 2018

Mobile search is more important than ever before. I know you’ve been aware that it’s a factor for a couple of years now, but it now has the final say in how well your website ranks.

Google’s algorithm update this year has sent a chilling ripple deep into the SEO community, with many SEO’s and business owners frantically attempting to figure out how to recover from a Google algorithmic penalty.

But mixed in with the “penalties” that were issued, there was a pretty big news bomb in the Google algorithm update of 2018 — Google has now announced that they will look chiefly to your mobile website performance to determine your organic search ranking across all platforms.

Mobile SEO

Mobile SEO Rankings

“Wait a minute, hasn’t Google had been looking at my mobile site for years now?”

You are correct, my anonymous quotation friend!

But here’s the difference. Previously, during Mobilegeddon, Google was merely looking to verify whether or not you had a mobile-friendly website (or a responsive website design). Meaning that your site just needed a mobile equivalent.

Things were simple; if you didn’t have a mobile site, you wouldn’t show up on mobile search.

Under normal circumstances, Google primarily looks to your website’s desktop experience as the core governor for your mobile SEO rankings. But their announcement now indicates that the opposite will be true.

If you want to rank well on either desktop or mobile, you will need to ensure that your mobile SEO is fully optimized.

Fix mobile SEO ranking

As I’m sure you’ve gotten used to with SEO, there is no straightforward answer on how to fix it. Sorry, it’s just the pragmatic truth. Would you really rather that I tell you that there’s “One sneaky tricky that SEO’s don’t know?”

At Fannit, we don’t do that kind of dastardly clickbait.

What I can tell you is that our team has spent nearly nine years building a process around the notion that Google would inevitably do what they’ve now done. Many of our clients have already been optimized for mobile search, in order to protect them from this outcome.

If this isn’t the case for you and your business, we highly recommend having a look at our onsite optimization SEO Cheatsheet or having us do a quick SEO audit, which I touched on in one of my last blogs.


The other matter of importance to consider is the site speed…which means that we need to have “the talk” about AMP. Take a seat, my son…

Mobile search AMP, Google’s open source project

Accelerated Mobile Pages; that’s what AMP stands for. Whether you’ve been aware of it or not, you’ve been experiencing AMP for a couple of years now. When you’re on your mobile device and disconnected from wi-fi, Google primarily shows you AMP-friendly search results in order to reduce the data strain on the cell network and give you a faster experience on mobile search.

AMP was started around 2015 as an open-source project by Google to help websites load fast. Like, really fast.

It’s a condensed form of website code similar to what stenography is in a courtroom. The top priority is to have pages be the bare minimum in content to load the data quickly.

Site speed has always been a ranking factor, but with AMP now being Google’s primary benchmark, the pressure is on to get your mobile site loading fast.

This is a matter of mobile SEO.


Bad news for clunky design elements

I have to be honest, it is a true catharsis for me to be breaking this news because I’ve endured all too many years of clients digging their heels into the ground on design elements that were no good for mobile SEO rankings.

With mobile search being the primary ranking factor, it means that you’re going to have to say “bye bye” to…

  • Your precious image sliders
  • Bloated website content regions with mounds of custom CSS
  • Autoplaying videos
  • Large images in high-resolution
  • Additional hooey (especially this one)

Man, just looking at this stresses me out.

Minimalism is the new website design mantra, with AMP in effect. And you’d better believe it’s in effect.

This doesn’t necessarily mean a full-blown redesign of your website will be required, but it means that you’ll want to go through and audit what you have currently to make sure it’s loading on mobile search the way it needs to be.

Now what?

A Google Algorithm update always means that business owners and SEO’s are scrambling to mitigate damage to their organic search rankings.

The fact that mobile search is now a driving factor simply means that you’ll need to think from the perspective of a mobile user…we’ve long known that over 70% of searches are mobile. Time to rip off that band-aid and accept that the VAST MAJORITY of users are not looking at your desktop site when it comes to your SEO marketing strategy.

It’s a simple mathematical equation. Do you want to cater to the one or to the many (when it comes to organic search rankings and your business’ livelihood)?


More helpful reading:


Mobile SEO company

When it comes to mobile search, Fannit is your go-to team of SEO experts. Being a mobile SEO company may not be how we describe ourselves on our business cards, but it’s 100% a core element of what we do.

You’re going to want to get your SEO data together sooner than later so that you don’t wake up one day and realize that you’ve fallen below the fold on organic search.

Or worse, onto the second page.

I highly recommend requesting an SEO audit from us to make sure that your mobile search ranking is set to withstand Google’s algorithm update.

Click here to get an SEO audit from us. Best click you’ll do all day.

Recommended Article: Mobile Site Design

Ryan Griffin

10+ Years Experience in Leading Digital Marketing. My specialties: Enterprise Tech, IT Service Providers, Health, Law, Home Services; Local and National SEO, PPC, Paid Social Media Marketing, Inbound Marketing & Sales Enablement, Growth-Driven Website Design. Connect with me on LinkedIn >