The Impending Culling – Non-Mobile Sites Are Disappearing from Search
Over the past couple of years, search engines like Google have advised brands, blogs and websites that mobile usability would increasingly become a factor in search engine algorithms, and who can blame them? Recently, Google reported that for the first time ever, mobile search share surpassed desktop search share, making it a majority of all queries performed. Lately, there has been some startling news mined from analytics that shows Google is done talking, and is instead acting on its promises. If you are still propagating a desktop-only version of your website, then you’ll want to read carefully as we outline how more and more websites like yours are disappearing from search.
Keyword Analysis Shows Us the Future
A recent study from Moovweb aimed to analyze more than one thousand different keywords related to commerce, in order to see what trends were being shown in the world of search. The most startling related to mobile versus non-mobile search: in more than 4 out of 5 cases, the top ranking result in these keywords was a mobile-optimized website. The same goes for the top three positions, which means that this is no fluke. This still indicates that about 20 percent of the time, Google is serving up non-mobile friendly websites to search engine users that are pinging for SEO. The question is: why is there a difference depending on keyword, and why does this phenomenon only manifest most of the time?
It’s Affected by Industry
It turns out that a key variable in determining how likely a non-mobile website will appear in the top three search results depends on industry. The best case scenario appears to be in transportation, in which non-mobile websites had a 35 percent chance of appearing in the top three search results. Retail, health care and insurance all showed dramatically different results, ranging from just a 10-20 percent chance of appearing in the top three if they were non-mobile optimized sites. At this point, even the “best case scenario” based on industry appears to be a losing proposition. As such, it makes absolutely no sense for any webmaster to continue serving customers or readers with a website that is not optimized for mobile.
It’s Affected by the Extent of Optimization
Another important factor to consider is that Google does not give a straight up or down to websites for mobile optimization. There is a variety of factors that are considered, and each metric can add or subtract from a site’s overall mobile optimization. A clear correlation between the “percentage of mobile friendliness” and page ranking was observed in the Moovweb report, with sites ranking in the top slot averaging 85 percent mobile friendliness, while sites in the 10th slot averaged 67 percent mobile friendliness.
It is simply no longer a tenable position to maintain a website that is not optimized for mobile and pinging for SEO in a variety of ways. As Google and others become more sensitive to the concept that more people are using mobile to access information, the trend will only intensify. Whether you are in retail or education, insurance or transportation, the future of search revolves around mobile optimization.