Today is April 21st, otherwise known as "Mobile-geddon" by those in the website building industry and those running their own websites. You see, today is the day that Google changes their search algorithms to heavily favor websites that have mobile-friendly versions for those on smartphones and tablets to view with ease. At first thought, this is a great idea, after all many of us spend most of our time browsing the web using our mobile devices. As such, it makes a lot of sense to highlight websites that are better suited for these smaller displays. Every time Google makes a serious change to the way their search algorithms rank and sort websites through searches however, a shockwave is sent out throughout the web, and this change could be one of the biggest yet.
Building a mobile website isn't quite as easy as it seems on paper. Sure, there are generic website themes that have a responsive element to them and scale to any display size, but as soon as you start designing special themes and designs for your website, the mobile part of the equation grows ever longer. Business Insider has been talking to business owners on how the change is going to affect them going forward and some of them are understandably a little unhappy with the change. Jasdeep Narang, owner of website development agency, Metaware Labs, said that he had no idea this change was coming. Luckily, 70% or so of his clients were already using mobile-friendly websites. For that 30% that don't have a mobile element, a lot of work will need to be done to restore their ranking in Google's results.
Owner of BeefJerky.com, Gregory Nemitz tells Business Insider the trouble he has had trying to make his site look good on mobile as well as desktop; "I'm about ready to throw in the towel on my 20-year business. It is the premier website address for the beef jerky industry with $3 billion in annual sales. You would think it could do very well. But I just barely eke out a living that almost supports one person." Nemitz says that he cannot afford to pay for a pricey web developer to solve his problems, but after April 21st his website will no longer be ranked among the first page of results, or perhaps even the second or third page. This means that BeefJerky.com will see far, far less traffic coming from Google in the coming weeks and months.
Others however, are optimistic about the change, and see Google's renewed focus on highlighting mobile sites a good thing going forward. Ed Baker, who runs RedCarpetEntrances.com had this to say: "I saw the writing on the wall, but honestly, I didn't formally know this Google algorithm change was coming. I'm so excited about it now – knowing it is hours away. It will only pay-off for us! We have burned things to the ground and started over more than once (to get it right). This push for mobile-friendly sites is super exciting because we have been working on that. If you have not been working on mobile, video, and overall user simplicity…be afraid, be very afraid."
Here at Android Headlines, we were a little late party we're not ashamed to admit it, but in just a short time, we saw traffic from mobile and desktop split the pie roughly in half. It's been obvious that the mobile web is the future of the web as a whole, and when you think about it this change has been a long time from Google. Those that have refused to get their sites in order will soon regret their decision, and for consumers, Google Searches might look a lot different from here on out.