Mobilegeddon Revisited At SMX Advanced

When Google’s Gary Illyes, Search Engine Optimization Clarity’s Mitul Gandhi and I presented in things You Don’t Know About Mobile SEO, But Need to panel at SMX West in San Jose on March 3, Google’s mobile update might still have been Mobilegeddon.

April 21 was approaching, and numerous web designers were questioning ways to make their sites mobile friendly so as not to take a success from this update that was advertised as being “larger than Panda and Penguin” and “significant”.

Because of this, the room was packed with web designers eager to obtain the inside scoop from Google on the best ways to prepare for the potential catastrophe somebody called “Mobilegeddon”.

The Mobilegeddon panel at SMX Advanced on Tuesday was a calmer, more reflective affair entirely. Taking place precisely six weeks after Google started rolling out its mobile friendly upgrade, this session was moderated by Barry Schwartz and had panelists Gary Illyes, Mitul Gandhi and Laura Scott of RKG Merkle combing through the rubble of Google’s mobile update, taking stock of what happened, and planning for the mobile-friendly future.

Gary Illyes, Web designer Trends Expert, Google


First off was Google’s Gary Illyes, who advised individuals that mobile is still “incredibly crucial”, making use of data to show that mobile is still something marketers need to be focusing on, even after the Google mobile friendly update.

He started with five common objections to going mobile today, including that the audience just views television all day and hangs around on social media and games, so why focus on mobile internet and search?

However this was a clever ploy that didn’t trick most of the audience. “Mobile is still the brand-new black,” Illyes said.

Right here are a few of the greatest takeaways from Illyes’ presentation:

  • Mobile has actually altered the method we eat media. 45% of traffic to YouTube today originates from mobile phones
  • People see more videos on smartphone than PCs and tablets integrated
  • Google expects smartphone penetration in the UK to be 90% in 2020, and it is 70% today
  • 20% of UK consumers, including Illyes, look at their smartphones within 5 minutes after getting up
  • The fear of lacking a cell phone now has a main name: nomophobia
  • In 2015, mobile searches went beyond desktop searches in Google in several nations

When it comes to Mobilegeddon itself, Illyes joked that the name is brilliant but that he hates it.

He added that the response to the mobile upgrade has actually been positive, as Google saw a 5% uptick in the number of mobile friendly sites after the mobile friendly upgrade was announced in February of this year.

There is still work to be done, however, as the top tier of the greatest sites are still not mobile friendly. For bigger websites it’s not as simple to make huge updates in a percentage of time.

Illyes said that mobile friendliness at Google is calculated during its rendering procedure, and many webmasters are still making mistakes that are avoiding Google from recognizing their material as mobile friendly, consisting of:

  • Lots of web designers disallow crawling CSS and JS files
  • Some are adding noindex tags to their mobile websites, which not just prevents Google from displaying a mobile friendly tag, but eliminates the listing from search results completely
  • It prevails not to configure the viewport, but doing so is necessary for mobile friendly designation.
  • Font size is often too small. Illyes said searchers should not need to pinch and zoom in order to view content, just since they are on a different device than was meant during design.

Illyes closed with a reminder that mobile is big and growing. Worldwide, both mobile and Internet penetration is increasing, and people are not just accessing the Internet from desktop computers any more.

Site owners should keep this in mind when designing sites to take advantage of opportunities afforded to those that are mobile-friendly.

Mitul Gandhi, Chief Architect, seoClarity


April 21st wasn’t the day of the Mobilegeddon update, according to Mitul Gandhi, who opened his presentation by saying February 26 was a more appropriate beginning.

That was the day that Google did something it hadn’t done in recent memory: announce a major update to the SEO and Web designer community.

When that happened, said Gandhi, webmasters started to panic, and rushed toward making their sites mobile friendly. There was a fear that many suppliers capitalized on by swamping us with emails about getting ready for April 21.

He was even inundated, he joked, and seoClarity had sent out a fair quantity of similar emails itself.

He then took a look at the mobile search opportunity, noting that mobile search, while still not almost as big as desktop search in the sample he looked at, has been growing at more than 3x the rate of desktop.

And the studies the company did on mobile click-through rate showed that mobile CTRs at position one were 27.7% compared to 19.9% for position one in desktop.

When it comes to Mobilegeddon itself, Gandhi kept in mind that he did see an impact, though maybe not as much as expected, in part because about 75% of top 10 search results by May 25th are mobile friendly.

By discussing the upgrade, he argued, and acting on it, collectively we lessened the impact of the update.

Some other important figures from Gandhi’s presentation:

  • Mobile growth differs based on industry. B2B sites in the SEO Clarity study see about 20% of total traffic from mobile, while sites in the Travel sector see about 35% on average.
  • Gandhi reiterated what Illyes stated, that big brand names were hit hardest by this update, as it’s more challenging for them to get mobile-friendly in such a short amount of time.
  • Effect was different depending on the country, with larger drops for brands in the UK than the US. Certain sites completely disappeared from search results in Japan.
  • Rankings on mobile differ from desktop by about 66%.
  • Sites that rely on mobile apps exclusively, like WebMD, were hit hard by the mobile friendly update.
  • Specific websites like AirBNB lost presence initially and then got visibility when they switched to a responsive design.

Gandhi closed by proposing a new definition of Search Engine Optimization as “Searcher Experience Optimization.”

Mobile SEO is concentrated on the user, he argues, even more than desktop, so we need to shift our focus to the searcher in order to do well.

Interestingly, there was a positive reaction to this new name on Twitter after the panel, as well as a discussion about the genesis of the term. Matt Cutts had suggested the name change back in a YouTube video in 2012, but was predated by both Gianluca Fiorelli in 2009 and Bryan Eisenberg in 2007.

Laura Scott, Strategy Lead At Merkle|RKG


Laura Scott closed the session with an entertaining discussion of how to mobilize your site.

This was concentrated on the laggards who, in spite of Mobilegeddon, still haven’t made their sites mobile-friendly.

She put some numbers behind the slow big brand adoption that both Gandhi and Illyes mentioned, saying that 46 % of the Fortune 500 and 29 % of the Internet Retailer 500 are still not mobile friendly.

Forty-five percent of the organic search traffic that RKG Merkle sees to its client sites today comes from smartphones, Scott stated, so the opportunity is big.

Scott’s presentation was fulled of powerful examples created to persuade the late adopters of the value of mobile, under the banner of “your mobile client is your customer.”.

Many businesses wouldn’t tolerate a poor customer experience in other channels like print or offline, she argued, but they’re giving those bad experiences to mobile searchers today.

She used a great visual of the Sears catalog cover in total, and then a detail of the catalog in the shape of a smartphone to illustrate the point.

The bulk of her presentation was on how to mobilize a site specifically. She outlined the three ways that this can be done according to Google’s guidelines, showing benefits and drawbacks of each.

Exactly what’s the best way? No answer is right or wrong, she says. All of these configurations can create great experiences for users.

Her deck is full of powerful analogies that can help agencies and in-house SEOs persuade reluctant clients and management to finally understand that a good mobile experience is no longer optional.

For example, think of faulty redirects like calling in to customer service with a question and being transferred to one customer service representative after another, only to be told by the last agent that she can’t help you.

If you tolerated this as a business you wouldn’t last long, but the same things are happening in mobile search and too many operations look the other way.

The Q&A at the end was both illuminating and amusing, with the following standing out as highlights:

  • Mediator Barry Schwartz asked when the page speed iteration of the mobile friendly algorithm was coming, and Gary answered “May 42.” More seriously, he said that page speed is something that Google is looking into for mobile, but that he thinks app interstitials are more pressing and will likely be next. Google does not plan on stopping with the mobile friendly algorithm and there will be future improvements.
  • Google is considering a mobile index separate from a desktop index but it’s a huge change and will not be happening anytime soon. Google currently looks at desktop content for relevance instead of mobile content, so Illyes is in favor of a separate index. People do not link to mobile URLs like they do to desktop pages typically.
  • Illyes says to pay attention to mobile video usage as a trend that marketers could take advantage of.
  • At one point Google tried to set up a mobile spam task force, but they couldn’t find any spam. They found some eventually, however it took much longer than it would on desktop. Google is set up to take action on mobile websites, however it’s rarely required.
  • Google mobile updates didn’t affect queries that were navigational in nature, so there are some sites that aren’t mobile friendly appearing for what seem to be more general informational queries that are relevant to authoritative mobile friendly sites below them. [Used cars] for example, might seem like a query that’s more informational in nature, but Google testing could have shown that it was navigational for It begs the question if mobile user data was utilized to determine that questions were navigational, as it seems not likely that sites that are difficult or impossible to use on smartphones would still be the site of option for most users for a given question. But Illyes did not detail Google’s procedure for determining which queries are navigational in nature.
  • Illyes said, “Mobilegeddon was amazing”. He liked the transparency Google was able to provide and wants to announce more updates in the future. He believes the next upgrade that Google will be transparent about will be around hacked websites.

Web Design – Kick The Tires

Web site design– Kick The Tires


Website design is a simply individual expression. When you work with a designer you are trying to pass along your vision for the website in the hopes that they can capture that vision and bring it to life. Frequently exactly what you get doesn’t actually accompany your vision, but it’s a site so you may not get too upset.

Commonly the process of wed design is a bit like attempting to transform the wheel. Sure, it may be a rather unique wheel with great deals of technical kitchen appliances, however the reality is the wheel has currently been designed.

If we continue the wheel (tire) example we see that the tire can be improved with numerous tread designs, sizes and shapes, however in the end it is still a tire.

When you go to purchase a tire do you look for the best value or the most pricey one offered? Opportunities are you probably do some window shopping initially. You take into account the amount of miles you can expect from the tire, what sore of road conditions the tire is best fit for and, of course, you will certainly want the general cost connected with the tire.

Prior to mass marketing there was a time when everything needed to be hand crafted. Each individual piece was made specifically for the product being produced. When you received the product you might be guaranteed it was one of a kind. Can you think of having to see a Vulcanized Rubbersmith who had to create tires made particularly for your automobile?

Even typing that last line appears ridiculous, yet it is this specific mindset that prevails in web design. Lots of ecommerce suppliers approach web site design in the same method you might approach our proverbial Vulcanized Rubbersmith.

There is a choice available that does not require the time and cash of a traditional website design choice, yet the more available alternative is either disregarded or continues to be misunderstood.

Internet builder innovation allows you to essentially personalize an existing ‘tire’. You can figure out which alternatives you desire, you can access them personally and create the website into a personally crafted vision.

The wheel does not have to be transformed, however together with all the other options you might wish to examine design template rich internet building alternatives. They are always readily available at a reduced price and often offer choices that might be unavailable (or incredibly pricey) in a conventional web site design alternative.

Compare cost, functions and function prior to making a decision. And unlike conventional web design choices you can even take web-building technology for a test drive.