Monolithic search engine Google updated its algorithm on April 21, which may not sound like that big of a deal, but the change could actually wind up reshaping consumer behavior on a massive scale. That’s why many in online marketing have dubbed the update: “Mobilegeddon.”
According to comScore Media Metrix, Google owns a 65% market share of U.S. Internet searchers, which means much more than half of the Internet searches made in the U.S. are performed on Google. Web traffic, however, is not distributed evenly. After this vast amount of users search Google, they typically go to the first, second, or third ranked result. According to a study by online ad network Chitika, the first ranked result on Google’s search engine results page (SERP) gets a whopping 33% of the traffic. Second gets 18%, and third gets 11%. From there, the traffic drops of exponentially.
Consequently, brands fiercely compete with each other, vying for Google’s top SERP rankings. In order to get there, they employ several online marketing tactics, the most important of which is search engine optimization (SEO).
The thing is, though, Google is constantly updating its algorithm in little ways in an effort to deliver users with the best, most relevant search results, which means that an SEO tactic that might have worked a week before might no longer be useful after an update.
Mobilegeddon, however, was no small update.
Seeing as how more than 50% of all mobile device users identify their smartphones or tablets as their primary way of accessing the Internet, Google realized it needed to reshape its algorithm to provide these users with search results that would load quickly and be easily navigable on a smartphone.
Although the details are being kept secret, Mobilegeddon basically penalized any site that’s not optimized for mobile devices, meaning they aren’t ranking well when someone searches Google via their mobile device.
Essentially, consumers are finding much different results when they search now, thusly forcing them to shop for goods and services at places they might not have, had the algorithm not been updated.
Luckily for many, the update did not affect results from desktop searches.
The exact impact Mobilegeddon has had has not yet been measured, but the last big algorithm update — code-named Panda — affected “11% of all search results,” Danny Sullivan, SearchEngineLand’s editor, told CBSNews. “It was a big shake-up, and this one could be even more dramatic.”