Google rolled out the newest search engine algorithm change this week and we’ve been bombarded with sky-is-falling cries that only mobile-targeted responsive sites will survive and the rest of the web will be lost to the tenth page of search results. Google reps even claimed that PPC advertising costs would rise for non mobile-friendly sites.
Don’t worry, the algorithm has been unleashed and the world is not in ruins. Initial reports from around the web are showing that not only did the sky not fall for nonresponsive sites, some are seeing upticks in traffic after the algorithm change. One site that scored 56% on the mobile friendliness test (if you remember grade school, that’s well below failing) saw a 4% increase in traffic after the mobile friendly algorithm change. That’s not a scientific study by any means, but if that medium sized business did nothing and was rewarded, you probably don’t need to scramble and launch a responsive redesign tomorrow.
There are a lot of reasons why legitimate, high quality websites haven’t gone responsive. Half of all traffic may be mobile but many sites still see a serious bias towards desktop users. The simple fact is that non responsive sites that might fail the Google Mobile Friendliness Test are still ranking well and not facing an evacuation of traffic.
In the end it comes down to understanding your target audience and understanding what they need. Some of you may remember that the previous several versions of Rapid Purple weren’t responsive quite frankly because my Google Analytics data didn’t show enough of a mobile user base to justify it. You’re target audience really may not be mobile users; or your website holds some extremely niche, unique, and great content and has enough trust established where this really isn’t a concern for you.
However – businesses who need to market to on-the-go consumers such as restaurants who want to attract local patrons should most definitely be considering a mobile-friendly website EVEN if your rankings haven’t been hurt in the recent algorithm roll-out. Fact is that your local patrons WANT an easier way to find you, and contact you. A mobile website with a map and a click-to-call button is perfect for this – and it pleases Google as-well.