Google’s recent updating of its search algorithm to rank mobile-friendly sites higher in mobile searches was called Mobilegeddon because the possible impact could mean doomsday for some companies.
But the first data on the impact indicates that, while it’s not quite the end of the world, this new mobile pecking order is hurting some businesses — including ones that are complying.
Digital marketing agency Koozai today released what it said is the first survey analyzing the effect of Google’s mobile update on small and medium-size businesses (SMBs).
The bottom line: 41 percent of responding businesses say they saw a drop in rankings of at least three places, with traffic drops that were as much as 50 percent in some cases.
But here’s the kicker: More than half of those seeing a drop — 27 percent of the total respondents — reported they had actually optimized for mobile.
About 12 percent didn’t know whether their websites were optimized for mobile.
“When a business has optimized for mobile [and] then drops three places, it is understandable that they feel angry that they have acted on Google’s warnings and yet have still experienced a negative impact,” Koozai CEO Ben Norman said in a statement accompanying the results.
He told me via email that the drop in ranking for these mobile-optimized companies could be because competitors were better optimized for the other 200+ Google ranking factors.
The ways in which these responding SMBs optimized for mobile included a range of approaches, he added, but most used responsive design that fluidly resizes for mobile screens, instead of adaptive designs that are built for each screen type. Some Google watchers believe the search giant’s algorithm likes responsive design better.
The survey also found that 69 percent thought the most pessimistic prediction of Mobilegeddon’s impact — that some websites could disappear completely from mobile search results — was “overhyped, incorrect, and unhelpful.”
Thirty-seven percent said they were worried the new algorithm could have an impact on their online sales, but 44 percent weren’t — most of their sales are from desktop/laptop computers.
And nearly half — 49 percent — didn’t know if their desktop sales had initial contacts made on mobile. This is a common user path: search on mobile, buy on desktop.
The survey was conducted online for four days last week, with respondents representing about 2,000 companies, each with 50 or fewer employees.