Though many consider Mobilegeddon to have been much ado about nothing, digital agency Koozai found that Google’s mobile-focused algorithm has had a significant impact on small and medium-sized businesses (SMB).
According to Koozai’s May survey of 2,000 SMBs with 50 or fewer employees, 46 percent of respondents have experienced changes in ranking. From that group, 41 percent have seen a drop in rankings by at least three places, resulting in drops in traffic – as much as 50 percent in some cases.
“The hype that the Google mobile update would cause carnage in the search engine rankings missed the larger picture,” says Ben Norman, chief executive (CEO) of Koozai. “Exaggerating the impact meant that businesses didn’t anticipate that even small changes in their ranking can have a big impact on their organic mobile search results.”
Google takes around 200 different factors into account when determining rank. So while the search powerhouse stressed the importance of mobile-optimization, it’s hardly the be all, end all of determining a company’s position. Koozai found that 27 percent of businesses dropped in rankings despite having optimized their sites for mobile.
Norman says that many business owners are frustrated, feeling like they’re experiencing a negative impact after acting on Google’s warnings. He says that speaks to how frequently SMBs fail to understand SEO and e-commerce analytics.
“Many consumers today will research on mobile and then purchase on desktop,” he says. “Many SMBs are missing out on these lead-creation opportunities if they don’t know if their e-commerce sites aren’t giving their potential customers a good experience on mobile.”
Of the businesses surveyed, 37 percent were concerned that the algorithm update would impact their sales, while 44 percent were not worried, due to the majority of their sales coming from desktop. Nearly half the respondents said they were unsure about the relationship between different devices and didn’t know whether mobile had impacted any of their desktop sales. And 12 percent didn’t even know whether their sites were mobile-friendly or not.
Back in April, even before Google rolled out its update, Brandon Prettyman, an SEO account manager-turned-website strategist, predicted that the smallest businesses would be hit the hardest.
“Small businesses lack the assets and knowledge to make the adjustment on their sites,” Prettyman said.