On 21 April Google (opens in new tab) made significant changes to its algorithms, to boost pages that were better optimised for smartphones' smaller screens, and to downgrade those that are not mobile-friendly
With all the news of the forthcoming #Mobilegeddon, you would think that larger companies were ready for the change.
It seems as though this is just not the case. Tech Crunch (opens in new tab) crawled every Fortune 500 website using Google PageSpeed insights API and found that a staggering 44 per cent were not mobile friendly, leaving them at the mercy of Google's new algorithms. A further four per cent of sites did not produce a response, and actively discouraged Web Bots from Google and Bing.
What is "Mobile Friendly"?
Mobile-friendly means a site’s text has to be readable without tapping and zooming, its tap targets need to be spaced out appropriately, and the page avoids unplayable content or horizontal scrolling. In other words, the site simply needs to be easily usable from a mobile device.
In order to be mobile friendly, some sites build a separate mobile friendly view of a page, but it is generally recommended that you use Responsive Design.
Responsive Design adapts your content depending on the size of the browser window, scaling elements to the optimal size. This solution is easy to implement, maintain and is effective from an SEO perspective.
It is important to notice that these changes are only being rolled out for mobile devices. Search results on tablets or PCs will stay unchanged. It is also important to notice that these changes only apply to individual pages, not entire websites.
Does the SEO Risk exist for the Fortune 500?
Fortune 500 companies have such strong brand awareness, with numerous external links both organic and paid, that their SEO doesn't appear to be particularly affected by the Google SEO penalty.
Still it is surprising to see that such a large percentage of the Fortune 500 were not mobile friendly, especially in such a dramatic shift in recent years towards mobile devices.
To check if your site is mobile-friendly, you can examine individual pages with the Mobile-Friendly Test (opens in new tab).