Google changes algorithm. In April 2015 Google announced it was updating its search algorithm to give a boost to mobile-friendly pages in Google’s mobile search results. The reaction in the web and online marketing world was panic. The change was referred to as mobilegeddon, mobilepocalyse, mopocalypse and mobocalypse. But, as is the case with most change, the panic and craziness has settled down and now we can now look at what the impact of this change was and what it means for political campaigns and groups.
First, why do this? Well, if you’re Google and nearly your entire (current) revenue stream is about selling ads through search, then your success, first and foremost, is built upon delivering the best search results. Anyone who has done a search from a mobile device and clicked on a webpage, then began constantly resizing and rotating the device to make reading not a miserable experience can appreciate the frustration of searching from a mobile device and getting non-mobile results. From a user perspective, that seems like a great idea.
This problem has existed for a while now so why did Google begin caring about this now? Well, in 2015 Google searches from mobile devices surpassed searches from desktops. So given the experience of mobile users and the explosion of mobile search traffic, that math is easy.
What Google did: They added a text label under the URL in the snippet that reads “Mobile-friendly” as the first part of the search result’s snippet. This message shows under search results when Google thinks the site works well on a mobile device.
Who is impacted. From the beginning, what seems to have gotten lost that this was a solution for people searching from mobile devices. A lot of the angst was from sectors that hadn’t invested resources at being mobile and were not generally a highly mobile destination. News, media, entertainment, etc are all heavy mobile destinations. Other sites such as political campaigns, industry-specific information, business sites, etc tend to have far lower mobile traffic.