Milestone Google Algorithm Update

May 12, 2015

Google’s new algorithm update, which some have called mobilegeddon, has created a lot of interest and concern for organizations that depend on the web to grow. The algorithm update covers an array of improvements in how Google presents more relevant results to people who use their engine, but its impact on websites that are not mobile friendly has taken the lionshare of the attention. This document is intended to review the scope and impact of this update as it pertains specifically to the mobile friendliness of your website. It will also cover how your organization can understand your specific exposure due to the mobile friendliness of your website.

This latest algorithm update takes a step forward in embracing the growing trend of people using their mobile devices to browse the web. Anyone who has used a smartphone to search for something online has experienced both mobile friendly websites, that make it easy to interact with the content, as well as, mobile unfriendly websites that require us to pinch, swipe and spread to get from point A to point B.

If your website is mobile friendly, your organic rankings for mobile search users will not be impacted, and in some cases you may even see an improvement in your rankings. If your website is not mobile friendly, you may find that your organic rankings for mobile users will suffer. Here are some key impact points:

  • This update does not impact your desktop and tablet driven traffic. For those of you who did not know, tablets (iPad / Galaxy Tab / etc.) are not grouped into the same bucket at mobile devices (iPhone / Galaxy S / etc.).
  • This update applies to individual pages versus your entire website. Content still remains king, which is to say that you can still rank well with great content if your web page is not mobile friendly. So a little bit on the criteria that determines if your website is “mobile friendly”.
  • Users shouldn’t have to pinch, spread or horizontally swipe their fingers to access your website content from a mobile device. Image sizes should be reasonably optimized for mobile devices.
  • Call to actions should be easily accessible, meaning they should not be crowded by other content, requiring the need to spread or horizontally swipe to trigger the call to action. To see if your website is mobile friendly you can drop your website’s domain name into the analysis tool analysis tool that Google has provided.
  • If your website is not mobile friendly the question is never around your desire to offer a better experience to website visitors. The reality is that limited budgets and time requires us to prioritize our investments, and knowing how visitors find and use your specific website will help you plan your transition to a mobile friendly website. The first step you should take is to turn to your analytics data.
  • Pull a mobile device report from your Google Analytics dashboard to see the number of visitors that used smart phones to visit your website. In the example below, we can see that of the 42,345 visits we got in the past 30 days 32% of those visits came from mobile devices.

Because most people are concerned about how this update will impact the number of organic search visitors browsing the website, we can go one step further to see the number of mobile visitors who came to our website due to organic search. To do this just apply the “Organic Search” Advanced Filter by clicking on the “All Sessions” segment.

A list of segmenting options will show up. Uncheck the “All Sessions” segment and check the “Organic” segment, clicking Apply afterwards.

We will end up with a report that will show us the number of visitors who came to our website on a mobile device through an organic search engine result, which we can see is 7,835 visits or 18.5% of our total traffic (mobile organic visits 7,835 / total visits 42,345 = 18.5%). You may find that this figure is 60% on your website, or even 5%. Whatever it is, understanding who uses your website, and from what type of device, will inform your journey into making your website mobile friendly.

Once you’ve decided to make your website mobile friendly, there are a few different ways for your organization to engage this transition. While the focus of this article is not to talk about how to make your website mobile friendly, here are a few popular options.

  1. Some popular content management systems allow you to install add-on enhancements that provide you with a convenient path into a mobile friendly website.
  2. There are an array of service providers that offer turnkey solutions for making your website mobile friendly such as Duda (
  3. If an add-on or turnkey solution is not for you, you may want to consider engaging a marketing agency who can make your website mobile friendly.

It’s always important for us to remember that the primary motivation behind search engine companies is to do a better job of matching people with the things they are looking for. This motivation has driven all of the algorithm updates, including this most recent one from Google. While mobile friendliness has received much attention, it is very important for us to remember that there are many other factors that drive quality and relevance of our online content. If your website is not mobile friendly you should begin to plan your transition to a mobile friendly website, remaining diligent with the other activities you employ to improve the quality and engageability of your content online.

If you have questions about this article, Google’s new algorithm update, or are looking for ways to improve the performance of your organization online, please email us at, or call us at: 908.730.6907.

Varident is an inter and multi disciplinary marketing company based in Somerville, New Jersey. For more information about our company, visit our website at