Mobile Update, 5 Myths

by Jim April 22, 2015

Boy there’s a lot of nonsense being published about today’s mobile update from Google. One of the most inaccurate articles was published yesterday in Fairfax papers. I’m not linking to it because I do not want to give it any more oxygen. It needs to be buried. I thought I’d address the top 5 myths for you surrounding the update so you can impress your friends 🙂

1. It was switched on yesterday

There were a few media articles yesterday in Australia claiming the roll out was happening already because it was the 21st in Australia. Google of course meant  the 21st US time. John Mueller from Google also intimated a few weeks back that it would possibly be an incremental roll out. On the Google Webmaster Central Blog this morning Google has published an FAQ on the mobile update. They are now saying it will take a “week or so” to roll out.

2. You’ll get booted from the index

I saw a mate publish this yesterday. People are fast and loose with the term “penalties” when it comes to Google. Trust me if you get hit by a Google penalty you will know it. Penalties are reserved for sites that are breaking Google’s terms of service. Not being mobile friendly is not breaking Google’s TOS. It just means they are less likely to show your site in mobile search results. Also this applies to mobile search results only not desktop results. No sites will be booted from the index if they are not mobile friendly.

3.  You’ll lose desktop rankings

Nope. This is purely mobile. As I write the Australian mobile and desktop index are not showing any signs of being different.  They will be very different within the week though. Take a look at the search for the word “Broadband” .  In mobile and desktop they are identical. IINET is number one in both searches. This is one search result where I think the desktop and mobile results will be significantly different. Currently only 30% of the top 10 results are mobile friendly. That’s insanely bad for that type of search. The competiton is so strong for that phrase that I believe Google will remove 7 of those page one results that are not mobile friendly.  IInet, TPG, iSelect & Dodo will all be big losers in this update and will take a good hit on their earnings because of it. I think the top 4 results for this search after the update will be, Telstra, Optus, Whistleout (They’re mobile friendly but Google needs to recrawl to update) and Wikipedia.

mobile search results
Mobile Search Results “Broadband”

4. You Can Only Use Responsive

In the aforementioned Fairfax article that was one of the inaccuracies. Like many big brands have done as I’ve previously written about, having a separate site that is mobile friendly at a subdomain is fine as long as you do it properly. The mistake a lot of businesses havd made with a subdomain though is that they have not made and exact replica of the desktop site so they end up with faulty redirects. That is why Google recommends responsive design.

5. We’re Scaremongering

The signs that this is a massive update are Google saying things like “pages designed for only large screens may see a significant decrease in rankings in mobile search results” . Whenever Google uses language like that you can be certain that the update is a biggie. So yeah if you are relying on mobile traffic for you business and your site is not mobile ready.. run screaming for the hills with your arms flailing about. Or you could just get some responsive design done.

Jim’s been here for a while, you know who he is.

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