On April 21st, Google released a huge mobile algorithm update that was expected to significantly impact non mobile friendly website all over the web. This update would allow Google to begin ranking sites that were mobile friendly higher than sites that were not. Now that there are reports that the update has officially fully rolled out, some companies have seen a boost in traffic while others have not yet seen results. Here’s what a recent survey found out.

3Q Digital recently surveyed some of their clients to find out answers for the update’s exact impact on websites. They found that while some clients had an uptick in mobile traffic, others had not seen results as of yet.

According to the report, what 3Q Digital found was that there isn’t an immediate “flip-the-switch” result with the new Google mobile ranking update. Fixing just a couple of components of a desktop website to fit different screen sizes doesn’t necessarily make it a completely web responsive, mobile friendly website.

The report actually found that some websites that weren’t mobile friendly were outranking those that were. The reason is that even though mobile friendliness is considered a ranking factor, other factors such as page speed and load times matter too. These factors “seem to be a heavier weighted ranking factor over this new mobile friendly website update”.

3Q Digital studied the effects of the update on four clients.

Client 1: Medical company with a dedicated mobile site

Client 2: Real estate software company with a responsive designed site

Client 3: Legal software vertical with responsive designed site

Client 4: Furniture retailer with a responsive designed website and dynamically served content

Client 1 hadn’t seen much of a change.


Credit: 3Q Digital

Client 2 reported similar results.


Credit: 3Q Digital

Client 3 actually saw a decrease in rankings after April 21st, then a spike a week after.

client-2 (1)

Credit: 3Q Digital

Client 4, like the first two, had seen normal traffic patterns.


Credit: 3Q Digital

See the full report here.

Search Engine Watch has mentioned that Google’s recent algorithm update has proved “inconsistent”. According to recent reports, content marketing platform BrightEdge surveyed more than 20,000 URLs on the first search engine results pages (SERPs). There was a 21% decrease in the number of non mobile friendly website URLs on the first three SERPs. There was a 17% decrease on page one, but a significant decrease of 20% and 25% on page two and three, respectively.

It’s hypothesized that other ranking factors such as load time, back links, etc. are weaker past the first page, allowing mobile-friendliness to have a bigger impact. Branded searches will yield the brand website, even if that site is not mobile-friendly. Larry Kim, founder and CTO of Wordstream, says that although branded searches aren’t impacted, for every other keyword, Google is favoring other mobile-friendly sites.

The Takeaway

We have to understand that mobile-friendliness is just a single ranking factor that Google is considering. There are more than 200 ranking factors that position websites. Since the “Mobilegeddon” was announced two months in advance, many marketers had ample time to become more mobile friendly, possibly lessening its impact. However, mobile matters. Yesterday, Google confirmed that there are officially more mobile search queries than desktop queries. To rank high, companies will need to focus not only on being mobile friendly but focus on other factors such as load time and site speed, which can significantly impact rankings as well.

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